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The way we understand and conceptualize mental disorders is in dire need of revision, argues professor of psychiatry Jim van Os. A discussion about the fascinating but maybe counterproductive label schizophrenia.
The concept of schizophrenia only covers part of a much broader psychotic syndrome, yet paradoxically has become the dominant ‘brain disease’ frame through which everything ‘psychotic’ is observed. Psychotic experiences are in fact, and perhaps surprisingly, also widespread in the general population, but remain firmly associated with the ‘schizophrenia’ brain disease concept. The inability of psychiatry to frame psychosis as human variation of a largely unpredictable course and outcome hampers research and recovery-oriented practice.
In this interactive lecture, Jim van Os will discuss the main issues surrounding the label ‘schizophrenia’, and explain how the prospect for introducing a broad psychosis spectrum concept – and modernizing psychiatry – appears to be within reach. According to Van Os, changing the outdated view on psychosis will pave the way for a radical modernization of the mental health system, based on new language, concepts and methods that are more in line with the experience of patients.
Jim van Os is professor of Psychiatry, Epidemiology and Public Health and chairman of the Division Neuroscience at University Medical Center (UMC) Utrecht. He is member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) and is since 2014 on the Web of Science list of the world’s most influential scientific minds. Van Os is considered a prominent voice in the international debate about psychosis and mental health care. He is the founder of the website www.psychosenet.nl, a platform offering a different, hopeful approach towards psychosis treatment.
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