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Laufer, M. (1986). Adolescence and Psychosis. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 67:367-372.

(1986). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 67:367-372

Adolescence and Psychosis

Moses Laufer


In this paper, I discuss how the specific developmental function of adolescence can result in behaviour and thought which resemble the adult psychoses but which, in most circumstances, are fundamentally different from the adult psychoses.

Anybody who treats the seriously disturbed adolescent will be familiar with a simple and obvious characteristic of these adolescents—it is an irreconcilable, unanswerable quest to alter the image of the body.

If we try to understand the psychotic manifestations or psychoses of adolescence, we must differentiate between (i) a psychotic episode, (ii) psychotic functioning, and (iii) psychosis. The assessment of psychosis must be reserved only for a very special category of disorder in adolescence and must not be confused with either a psychotic episode or psychotic functioning.

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