Aim: The name of a disease entered in medical documents often differs from the true diagnosis in psychiatric practice. We examined the effects of different translations of ‘schizophrenia’ into Japanese on the usage of disease names in documents.
Methods: We conducted a retrospective survey of the names of diseases used in the medical documents of 250 outpatients with schizophrenia or depression. These patients had attended our department of psychiatry between 1998 and 2000. We also investigated the names of the diseases of 226 outpatients who had first visited our department between 2003 and 2007. We defined the diagnosis (based on ICD-10) as the ‘ICD-10 disease name’ and the name of the disease written in medical documents as the ‘disease name in documents’. We classified the documents that were used to apply for national psychiatric care and welfare services as ‘official documents’ and those submitted to others as ‘private documents’.
Results: Prior to 2000, the term ‘seishin-bunretsu-byo’ (‘split-mind disease’; old translation of ‘schizophrenia’) was used in 72.3% of official documents and 3.6% of private documents. In 2003 and later, the term ‘togo-shitcho-sho’ (‘integration disorder’; new translation of ‘schizophrenia’) was used in 98.0% of official documents and 21.7% of private documents.
Conclusion: The use of ‘togo-shitcho-sho’ in official documents has become established. On the other hand, terms such as ‘nervous breakdown’ and ‘depressive state’ are still commonly used in private documents after the adoption of the new Japanese translation of schizophrenia.