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.

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