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

Snowden, Austyn



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.


Snowden, A. (2009). Classification of schizophrenia. Part 2: the nonsense of mental health illness. British Journal of Nursing (1), 18, 1228-1232. doi:10.12968/bjon.2009.18.20.45113

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2009
Deposit Date Aug 28, 2015
Print ISSN 0966-0461
Publisher Mark Allen Healthcare
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 18
Pages 1228-1232
Keywords Classification; Diagnosis; Mental health nursing; Mental health illness; Schizophrenia;
Public URL
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