Classification of schizophrenia. Part 2: The nonsense of mental health illness

Austyn Snowden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The classification of schizophrenia is currently under review in a coordinated worldwide consultation for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM V) and the International Classification of Diseases (ICD 11)--the standard manuals for psychiatric classification. Classification can seem remote from nurses by appearing to be the antithesis of person-centred approaches to recovery. This should not be the case. Nurses need to critically engage with methods of classification in order to better understand the biological, psychological, social and political assumptions underpinning them. It will be shown that these assumptions often compete, and some common objections to the construct of schizophrenia can be viewed as a function of this. However, it is argued here that a truly holistic approach to care needs to engage with all these factors. The alternative is to simply reject the process as irrelevant to mental health nursing. It will be shown that a corollary of this latter approach is the invention of nonsense terms such as 'mental health illness' as a function of trying to simultaneously deny yet acknowledge the existence of mental illness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1228-32
Number of pages5
JournalBritish Journal of Nursing
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jan 2010


  • Algorithms
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Dissent and Disputes
  • Evidence-Based Practice
  • Great Britain
  • Humans
  • International Classification of Diseases
  • Philosophy, Medical
  • Psychiatric Nursing
  • Psychiatry
  • Psychoanalytic Theory
  • Schizophrenia
  • Semantics
  • Stereotyping
  • United States


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