The concepts of remission and recovery in schizophrenia

Department of Psychiatry, University of Stellenbosch, Tygerberg Campus, Cape Town, South Africa.
Current opinion in psychiatry (Impact Factor: 3.55). 03/2011; 24(2):114-21. DOI: 10.1097/YCO.0b013e3283436ea3
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Until recently outcome studies in schizophrenia lacked standardized measures, and outcome expectations were generally pessimistic. The Remission in Schizophrenia Working Group (RSWG) published operationalized criteria for symptomatic remission in 2005. These criteria have been extensively applied in research settings and have stimulated research into other components of outcome, particularly functional outcome and quality of life. Attention has also shifted beyond remission to the more difficult to attain and complex concept of recovery. The purpose of this review is to examine recent studies on these topics and to assess whether progress has been made towards a broader definition of remission and recovery.
Reported remission rates vary widely across studies (17-88%). Patients in remission do better than their nonremitted counterparts in several other outcome domains. Predictors of remission include early treatment response, and baseline symptom severity and subjective well being. Patients move in and out of remission over time. At present, there is no consensus on methods of measuring other outcome domains, particularly functional status and quality of life.
The RSWG remission criteria are easy to apply and define an achievable and desirable treatment goal. Measures of social and occupational functional outcome, quality of life and cognitive status need to be further developed and standardized before remission and recovery criteria can be more broadly defined.

  • Article: d
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background: Evaluations of the recovery orientation of mental health services have focused on outpatient and rehabilitative rather than acute inpatient facilities. Aim: This naturalistic observational study seeks to evaluate the subjective perspective and functional outcome of inpatients before and after structural alterations. The changes made were the introduction of treatment conferences and conjoint treatment planning, reduction of the total time spent on reports about patients (in their absence), and recovery-oriented staff training on an acute psychiatric unit of the University Hospital of Psychiatry, Zurich, Switzerland. Methods: During 1 year (2011/2012) eligible patients on the study unit were interviewed on a voluntary basis using established instruments to assess several recovery-relevant aspects. Two different samples (before and after the project; n = 34 and n = 29) were compared with regard to subjective parameters (e.g. patients’ attitudes toward recovery, quality of life, perceived coercion, treatment satisfaction, and hope), clinical and socio-demographic basic data, as well as the functional outcome according to the Health of the Nation Outcome Scales (HoNOS). Results: Some patient attitudes towards recovery and their self-assessment of the recovery process improved during the study. Other subjective parameters remained stable between samples. Functional outcome was better in subjects who were treated after the implementation of the new concept. The length of stay remained unchanged. Conclusions: The implementation of recovery-oriented structures and providing the necessary theoretical underpinning on an acute psychiatric unit is feasible and can have an impact on attitudes and knowledge of personal recovery.
    Nordic Journal of Psychiatry 09/2014; 69(3). DOI:10.3109/08039488.2014.959561 · 1.50 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: While research on remission in schizophrenia has gained attention, personality characteristics associated with remission in schizophrenia have been under-studied. A functional valine-to-methionine (Val158Met) polymorphism in the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene is shown to modify clinical presentation of schizophrenia despite weak or no association with the disorder itself. Studies also report that this polymorphism can affect personality traits. We aimed to examine personality traits of remitted patients with schizophrenia as compared to symptomatic patients and healthy controls and to investigate whether the COMT Val158Met polymorphism influences their personality. Scores on the Temperament and Character Inventory were compared between 34 remitted outpatients with schizophrenia, age- and sex-matched 72 symptomatic outpatients with schizophrenia, and matched 247 healthy individuals. The effect of COMT Val158Met polymorphism on personality was examined in each group. The analysis of covariance, controlling for confounding variables, revealed that compared to healthy controls, symptomatic patients exhibited a pervasively altered personality profile whereas remitted patients showed alterations in more limited personality dimensions and demonstrated normal levels of novelty-seeking, reward dependence and cooperativeness. The two-way analysis of covariance, with genotype and sex as between-subject factors and confounders as covariates, revealed that Met carriers demonstrated significantly lower reward dependence and cooperativeness than Val homozygotes in symptomatic patients; while no significant genotype effect was found in remitted patients or in healthy individuals. These findings indicate that remitted patients with schizophrenia have a relatively adaptive personality profile compared to symptomatic patients. The COMT Val158Met polymorphism might have a modulating effect on the relationship between personality and remission.
    Journal of Psychiatric Research 05/2014; 56. DOI:10.1016/j.jpsychires.2014.05.006 · 4.09 Impact Factor