Schizophreniform disorder causes symptoms of schizophrenia, but the symptoms last only 1 to 6 months.
As in schizophrenia, individuals with schizophreniform disorder have symptoms such as delusions, hallucinations, disorganised thinking and speech, and bizarre and inappropriate motor behaviour (including catatonia) that indicate loss of contact with reality (refer to Schizophrenia and Related Disorders).
Because of this similarity, medical professionals carefully assess how long psychotic symptoms have been present. If they last longer than a month but resolve within six (6) months after they begin, a schizophreniform disorder is diagnosed.
However, medical professionals must rule out any temporary psychosis that might be the result of a substance use disorder or another medical condition.
If psychotic symptoms persist longer than six (6) months, schizophrenia is the most likely diagnosis but some individuals instead develop bipolar disorder or schizoaffective disorder.
Individuals are treated with anti-psychotic drugs and supportive psychosocial care.
After symptoms resolve, drug treatment is continued for twelve (12) months and then gradually tapered while the individual is closely monitored for the return of psychotic symptoms.