The British Journal of Psychiatry


In an examination of the phenomenology of pain in 78 patients with schizophrenia, 29 had current pain complaints. Of these 13 had an appropriate physical cause, leaving 16 with pain of seemingly psychological origin. The head, leg and back were the commonest sites. Complaints were most often described in sensory terms. Pain plausibly related to a specific delusion or hallucinatory process occurred only once, and no gross examples of insensitivity to noxious stimuli or to self-mutilation were seen. Patients with schizophrenia may have less pain than those with anxiety or depression but certainly do experience pain both from physical and psychological causes. The influence of phenothiazines on pain experience is uncertain.