Jim van Os

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Jim van Os (2019)

Jim van Os (born 1960) is a Dutch professor of Psychiatric Epidemiology and Public Mental Health at Utrecht University Medical Centre, the Netherlands.


Van Os studied medicine in Amsterdam, psychiatry in Jakarta, Casablanca, Bordeaux, and London, and subsequently epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

He is professor of Psychiatric Epidemiology and Public Mental Health and Head of the Division of Neuroscience at Utrecht University Medical Centre, as well as visiting professor at the Division of Psychological Medicine, Institute of Psychiatry, DeCrespigny Park, London, United Kingdom.

In 2011 he was elected member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.[1]

Arguments that "schizophrenia" does not exist[edit]

In 2009, van Os proposed the retirement of the diagnosis, schizophrenia, citing its lack of validity and the risk of fundamental attribution error associated with the label. The label "schizophrenia" could cause difficulties on the clinician's part in communicating with the diagnosed person, due to erroneous preconceptions associated with the label.

In its place, van Os proposed a broad and general syndromal definition, more suited to personal diagnosis, which would reduce attribution error.[2] He cited previous work by other researchers that explains psychosis as aberrant salience regulation.[3]

In 2014 he explained his views in a TED talk[4] and was listed in the Thomson Reuters Web of Science list of "the world’s most influential scientific minds of our time" (since 2014).[5]

In 2015 he co-authored an article in a national newspaper, suggesting that "schizo-labels" be abandoned and replaced with more scientific and patient-friendly terminology.[6] The following week, his colleagues Rene Kahn, Iris Sommer, and Damiaan Denys published a counter-article, labeling Van Os and his colleagues as "antipsychiatrists".[7]

In 2016 he published an editorial arguing that disease classifications should drop the concept of schizophrenia, as it is an unhelpful description of symptoms.[8]

Partial bibliography[edit]

  • van Os, J.; Kapur, S. (2009). "Schizophrenia". Lancet. 374 (9690): 635–645. doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(09)60995-8. PMID 19700006. S2CID 208792724.
  • van Os, J; Kenis, G; Rutten, BP (2010). "The environment and schizophrenia". Nature. 468 (7321): 203–212. doi:10.1038/nature09563. PMID 21068828. S2CID 4410308.
  • McGorry, P; van Os, J (2013). "Redeeming diagnosis in psychiatry. Timing versus specificity". Lancet. 381 (9863): 343–345. doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(12)61268-9. PMID 23351805. S2CID 29808038.
  • van Os, J (2009). "'Salience syndrome' replaces 'schizophrenia' in DSM-V and ICD-11: psychiatry's evidence-based entry into the 21st century?". Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica. 120 (5): 363–372. doi:10.1111/j.1600-0447.2009.01456.x. PMID 19807717.
  • Van Os, J.; Linscott, R.J.; Myin-Germeys, I.; Delespaul, P.; Krabbendam, L. (2009). "A systematic review and meta-analysis of the psychosis continuum: evidence for a psychosis proneness-persistence-impairment model of psychotic disorder". Psychological Medicine. 39 (2): 179–195. doi:10.1017/s0033291708003814. PMID 18606047. S2CID 10102240.
  • Tamminga, C., Sirovatka, P., Regier, D.A. & Van Os, J. (2010) Deconstructing Psychosis: Refining the Research Agenda for DSM-V (Arlington, Virginia, American Psychiatric Association).
  • Groot, P.C. & van Os, J. (2021) "Tapering Medication (Tapering Strips) as a Necessary Tool for a Meaningful Conversation in the Doctor’s Office" (pp. 259-285). In: P. Lehmann & C. Newnes (eds.), Withdrawal from Prescribed Psychotropic Drugs. ISBN 978-3-925931-83-3, ISBN 978-3-925931-84-0, ISBN 978-0-9545428-8-7. Berlin / Lancaster: Peter Lehmann Publishing.


  1. ^ "Jim van Os". Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  2. ^ van Os J (February 2009). "A salience dysregulation syndrome". Br J Psychiatry. 194 (2): 101–3. doi:10.1192/bjp.bp.108.054254. PMID 19182167.
  3. ^ Kapur S (January 2003). "Psychosis as a state of aberrant salience: a framework linking biology, phenomenology, and pharmacology in schizophrenia". Am J Psychiatry. 160 (1): 13–23. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.160.1.13. PMID 12505794.
  4. ^ TED talk at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sE3gxX5CiW0
  5. ^ http://thomsonreuters.com/en/articles/2014/worlds-most-influential-scientific-minds-2014.html Archived 2015-09-06 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 1-12-2015
  6. ^ Van Os et al, NRC Handelsblad, 2015, laten we de diagnose schizofrenie vergeten http://www.nrc.nl/handelsblad/2015/03/07/laten-we-de-diagnose-schizofrenie-vergeten-1472619
  7. ^ Kahn et al, NRC Handelsblad, 2015: http://www.nrc.nl/nieuws/2015/03/13/schizofrenie-als-diagnose-schrappen-is-anti-psychiatrie-uit-de-jaren-70
  8. ^ Os, Jim van (2016-02-02). ""Schizophrenia" does not exist". BMJ. 352: i375. doi:10.1136/bmj.i375. ISSN 1756-1833. PMID 26837945. S2CID 116098585.

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