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First, let me say that I am not a doctor, but I think I have the answer you're looking for. Schizophreniform disorder and schizophrenia are very closely related diagnoses. Both have a set of similar symptoms, including these:
- Flat affected emotions,
- Difficulty forming relationships.
The difference between the two deals with duration and severity. For a diagnosis of schizophrenia, one must generally have had symptoms for more than six months and have a social/employment impairment. A diagnosis of schizophreniform disorder takes place after one month of symptoms, but lasts for no more than six months. Also, in schizophreniform disorder, the symptoms may or may not be severe enough to impair a person. Doctors monitor a patient for the initial six months to see if symptoms will lessen and prove to be temporary.
In short, not everyone with schizophrenic symptoms has schizophrenia. A diagnosis of schizophreniform disorder shows the need for further monitoring and treatment with the hope that the symptoms will improve before the threshold for true schizophrenia is reached.
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