Paranoid Schizophrenia Diagnostic Criteria

The formal ICD diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia rests on these symptoms, which can be evaluated by psychiatrists and other mental health professionals.

ICD-10 Criteria for Paranoid Schizophrenia

The following information is reproduced verbatim from the ICD-10 Classification of Mental and Behavioural Disorders, World Health Organization, Geneva, 1992. (Since the WHO updates the overall ICD on a regular basis, individual classifications within it may or may not change from year to year; therefore, you should always check directly with the WHO to be sure of obtaining the latest revision for any particular individual classification.)

F20.0 Paranoid Schizophrenia

This is the commonest type of schizophrenia in most parts of the world. The clinical picture is dominated by relatively stable, often paranoid, delusions, usually accompanied by hallucinations, particularly of the auditory variety, and perceptual disturbances. Disturbances of affect, volition, and speech, and catatonic symptoms, are not prominent.

Examples of the most common paranoid symptoms are:

  1. delusions of persecution, reference, exalted birth, special mission, bodily change, or jealousy;
  2. hallucinatory voices that threaten the patient or give commands, or auditory hallucinations without verbal form, such as whistling, humming, or laughing;
  3. hallucinations of smell or taste, or of sexual or other bodily sensations; visual hallucinations may occur but are rarely predominant.

Thought disorder may be obvious in acute states, but if so it does not prevent the typical delusions or hallulcinations from being described clearly. Affect is usually less blunted than in other varieties of schizophrenia, but a minor degree of incongruity is common, as are mood disturbances such as irritability, sudden anger, fearfulness, and suspicion. “Negative” symptoms such as blunting of affect and impaired volition are often present but do not dominate the clinical picture.

The course of paranoid schizophrenia may be episodic, with partial or complete remissions, or chronic. In chronic cases, the florid symptoms persist over years and it is difficult to distinguish discrete episodes. The onset tends to be later than in the hebephrenic and catatonic forms.

Diagnostic Guidelines

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The general criteria for a diagnosis of schizophrenia (see introduction to F20 above) must be satisfied. In addition, hallucinations and/or delusions must be prominent, and disturbances of affect, volition and speech, and catatonic symptoms must be relatively inconspicuous. The hallucinations will usually be of the kind described in (b) and (c) above. Delusions can be of almost any kind of delusions of control, influence, or passivity, and persecutory beliefs of various kinds are the most characteristic.

Includes:

  • paraphrenic schizophrenia

Differential diagnosis. It is important to exclude epileptic and drug-induced psychoses, and to remember that persecutory delusions might carry little diagnostic weight in people from certain countries or cultures.

Excludes:

  • involutional paranoid state (F22.8)
  • paranoia (F22.0)

All clinical material on this site is peer reviewed by one or more qualified mental health professionals. This specific article was originally published by on and was last reviewed or updated by Dr Greg Mulhauser, Managing Editor on .

Our material is not intended as a substitute for direct consultation with a qualified mental health professional. Please seek professional advice if you are experiencing any mental health concern.

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