The rationale for early intervention in schizophrenia and related disorders
ABSTRACT To examine the rationale and evidence supporting an early intervention approach in schizophrenia.
A selective literature review was conducted.
During the onset of schizophrenia, there is often a significant delay between the emergence of psychotic symptoms and the initiation of treatment. The average duration of untreated psychosis is around 1-2 years. During this period, brain function may continue to deteriorate and social networks can be irreversibly damaged. Studies have consistently linked longer duration of untreated psychosis with poorer outcomes and this relationship holds even after controlling for the potential confounding variable of premorbid functioning. In Norway, the early Treatment and Intervention in PSychosis study demonstrated that duration of untreated psychosis is amenable to intervention with the combination of educational campaigns and specialized early detection units substantially decreasing the period from onset of symptoms to treatment initiation. Furthermore, recent evidence from the randomized controlled OPUS and the Lambeth Early Onset trial studies have linked phase-specific early interventions to improved outcomes spanning symptoms, adherence to treatment, comorbid drug abuse, relapse and readmission. Some benefits persist after cessation of the intervention.
Early intervention in schizophrenia is justified to reduce the negative personal and social impact of prolonged periods of untreated symptoms. Furthermore, phase-specific interventions are associated with improved outcomes, at least in the short term. Further research is needed to establish the optimum duration of such programmes.
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ABSTRACT: This article aims to review Latin America's early intervention services in psychosis and to shed light into their challenges and particularities. An internet-based search comprising medical societies' websites, published articles, and major universities' websites was conducted and the results were critically discussed. Latin American countries are profoundly deficient in specialized early intervention services. Our search found seven target services, four of which are based in urban areas of Brazil, inside tertiary hospitals or universities. Among the initiatives advanced by these centers, there are partnerships with the public educational system and other community-based efforts toward knowledge transfer. On the other hand, several challenges remain to be overcome, especially in relation to their expansion, which is necessary to match the existing demand.Revista Brasileira de Psiquiatria 10/2011; 33 Suppl 2:s213-24. DOI:10.1590/S1516-44462011000600007 · 1.64 Impact Factor
- American Journal of Psychiatry 04/2012; 169(4):345-7. DOI:10.1176/appi.ajp.2012.12010094 · 13.56 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: The duration of untreated illness has been considered a likely predictor of the course of psychotic disorders. However, there is only sparse data concerning the influence of treatment delay on the outcome of mood disorders. The present study aimed to assess the effect of prolonged untreated depression on the outcome of antidepressant treatment. METHOD: Patients aged 18-70 years with recent onset of the first lifetime depressive episode were systematically recruited by the Danish Psychiatric Central Research Register during a 2-year period. A total number of 399 individuals out of 1006 potential participants in the Register were interviewed, and 270 fulfilled the inclusion criteria. The validity of the diagnosis, duration of untreated illness, remission on first-line antidepressant treatment and a number of covariates, including psychiatric co-morbidity, personality disorders and traits, stressful life events prior to onset, and family history of psychiatric illness, were assessed by structured interviews. RESULTS: The remission rate was significantly decreased among patients with six months or more of untreated depression as compared to patients who were treated with antidepressant medication earlier after onset (21.1% versus 33.7%, OR=0.5, 95% CI 0.3 to 0.9, p=0.03). The negative influence of a prolonged DUI on the outcome did not seem confounded by any of a wide range of demographic and clinical variables. LIMITATIONS: The outcome was evaluated retrospectively. The findings cannot be generalized to patients outside hospital settings. CONCLUSION: Initiation of antidepressant treatment more than six months after onset of first episode depression reduces the chance of obtaining remission. The results emphasize the importance of early recognition and treatment of patients suffering from depression.Journal of Affective Disorders 07/2012; 145(1). DOI:10.1016/j.jad.2012.07.008 · 3.71 Impact Factor