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Street slang and schizophrenia

BMJ 2007; 335 doi: (Published 20 December 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;335:1294
  1. Oliver D Howes, senior lecturer,
  2. Sara Weinstein, clinical researcher,
  3. Paul Tabraham, clinical psychologist,
  4. Lucia Valmaggia, clinical psychologist,
  5. Matthew Broome, psychiatrist,
  6. Philip McGuire, professor
  1. 1Institute of Psychiatry, London SE5 8AF
  1. Correspondence to: O D Howes o.howes{at}

    Young people often use language in an unconventional way. This may create communication difficulties for older doctors, particularly in the identification of disorganised speech, say Oliver D Howes and colleagues

    We report the case of a 26 year old streetwise young postman who presented with a six month history of reduced occupational and social function, low mood, and lack of motivation. He complained of feeling less sociable and less interested in his friends and of being clumsy and finding it harder to think. He was otherwise fit and healthy, with no physical abnormalities, neurological signs, or objective cognitive impairments. There was no history of a recent stressor that might have precipitated his symptoms. He was referred to a specialist service for patients in the prodromal phase of psychotic illness for further assessment after he had seen his general practitioner and the local community mental health team. The differential diagnosis at this stage was depression, the prodrome of schizophrenia, or no formal clinical disorder.

    His premorbid occupational and social function had been good. There was no history of abnormal . social, language, and motor development and he left school with two A levels. After three years of …

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