In the mental health field, schizophasia, commonly referred to as word salad (see "word salad" for other meanings), is used to describe the symptom of confused, and often repetitious, language that is symptomatic of various mental illnesses. It is usually associated with a manic presentation and other symptoms of serious mental illnesses, such as psychoses, including schizophrenia. It describes the apparently confused usage of words with no apparent meaning or relationship attached to them. In this context, it is considered to be a symptom of a formal thought disorder. In some cases schizophasia can be a sign of asymptomatic schizophrenia; e.g. the question "Why do people believe in God?" could elicit a response consisting of a series of words commonly associated with religion or prayer but strung together with no regard to language rules.
Schizophasia is in contrast to another symptom of cognitive disruption, loose association and cognitive slippage. It may, or may not, be grammatically correct depending on the severity of the disease and the particular mechanisms which have been impacted by it. Thus, "Satan, oscillate my metallic sonatas" as well as "Blue does runs shaky lovely very" can be authentic schizophasias (one correct, one not) if they were produced as a result of mental disease or defect. In contrast, intentionally producing nonsense, as in the contrived palindrome "Satan, oscillate my metallic sonatas" is not really considered schizophasia, due to the intentional production of that language. Schizophasia refers to a defect in processing and organizing language, as opposed to the ability to create a nonsense word which happens to conform to a very specific set of rules.
- Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th edition ed.). 1994.