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Anomalies of subjective experience in schizophrenia and psychotic bipolar illness

Authors


Josef Parnas, Danish National Research Foundation: Center for Subjectivity Research, University of Copenhagen, Købmagergade 46, 1150 Copenhagen K, Denmark
E-mail: parnas@vip.cybercity.dk or parnas@cfs.ku.dk

Abstract

Objective: Contemporary psychopathology, as a result of behaviourally dominated epistemological stance, downplays anomalies of the patient's subjectivity. This neglect has probably deleterious consequences for research in the causes and the boundaries of the schizophrenia spectrum conditions. The purpose of this study is to explore frequency of qualitative, not-yet-psychotic, anomalies of subjective experience in patients with residual schizophrenia and psychotic bipolar illness in remission.

Method: The patients were examined with the Danish version of the Bonn Scale for the Assessment of Basic Symptoms (BSABS). Anomalies of experience were condensed into rational scales with good internal consistencies.

Results: Diagnosis of schizophrenia was associated with elevated scores on the scales measuring perplexity (loss of immediate meaning), disorders of perception, disorders of self-awareness, and marginally so, disorders of cognition.

Conclusion: These findings, in conjunction with those from other, methodologically similar studies, suggest that certain anomalies of subjective experience aggregate significantly in schizophrenia. These experiential anomalies appear to be relevant for early differential diagnosis and therefore potentially useful in the preonset detection of the schizophrenia spectrum illness.

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