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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 45 (2003) 2, 87 - 96

Review article

Stigma and Schizophrenia

K.C.E.E.R. Catthoor, M. De Hert, J. Peuskens

background  Schizophrenia not only debilitates and imposes restrictions on patients, but it can also stigma, a phenomenon that radically alters the lives of patients and their families.
aim  To conduct a review of the research literature on the factors that cause, facilitate and heighten the effects of stigma in patients and their relatives, and to discover possible ways of dispelling or preventing stigma.
method  A literature search was carried out using Medline and PsychINFO (1990 till march 2001), using as key words schizophrenia, psychosis and stigma.
results and conclusions  Stigma seriously affects the lives of patients suffering from psychotic disorders. Most studies agree on this point. There are indications that stigma lowers the self-esteem of both patients and their families. However, the causes of stigma are usually described in very vague terms that have little scientific basis. Hardly any research has been done on possible ways of tackling stigma. The ways that have been proposed are either inadequate or are difficult to implement. Among the strategies that are likely to combat stigma effectively are therapy, social reintegration, improved therapy and education of the public. Stigma will not be fully understood until more research is done into patients, their families and the public as a whole.



keywords schizophrenia, stigma