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The Role of the Term Schizophrenia in the Decline of Diagnoses of Multiple Personality

Milton Rosenbaum, MD
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1980;37(12):1383-1385. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1980.01780250069008.
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• The syndrome of multiple (dissociated) personality fell into disrepute around 1910. This has been attributed to loss of interest in hypnosis; psychiatrists believed the syndrome resulted from hypnosis and that they were being duped. However, around 1910 an important event occurred in psychiatry: Bleuler introduced the term "schizophrenia" to replace "dementia praecox." This factor also played a role in the decline of recognition of the multiple personality syndrome, and many of these cases were diagnosed as schizophrenia. A review of IndexMedicus from 1903 through 1978 shows a dramatic decline in the number of reports of multiple personality after the diagnosis of schizophrenia "caught on," especially in the United States. A review of clinical reports indicates that many patients with multiple personality had been diagnosed and treated as schizophrenics.

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