Current issues in schizophrenia: overview of patient acceptability, functioning capacity and quality of life

Centre for Psychosocial Medicine, Department for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University of Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany.
CNS Drugs (Impact Factor: 5.11). 02/2004; 18 Suppl 2:5-17; discussion 41-3.
Source: PubMed


The increasing interest in the subjective wellbeing and quality of life (QoL) of patients with schizophrenia represents a conceptual extension of therapeutic outcome criteria. For a long time, the reduction of positive symptoms alone was the most important outcome parameter, but the development of atypical antipsychotic drugs in the early 1990s resulted in the adoption of more wide-reaching measures of therapeutic outcome. Patient satisfaction appears to be strongly related to their willingness to be or stay engaged in psychosocial and pharmacological treatment, and therefore to the symptomatic and functional outcome. Existing studies that deal with QoL and subjective wellbeing differ in their methodology and are difficult to compare because of varying underlying concepts of QoL or subjective wellbeing, different assessment scales or small sample sizes. Although QoL is a heterogeneous concept, it is clearly correlated with a number of factors, including illness, medication and stress process-related variables. Various protective factors have been identified; among these are personality traits, the degree of social support and treatment interventions. In clinical studies, atypical antipsychotic agents are associated with greater improvements in QoL and subjective wellbeing than are conventional agents. The reason for this is probably the ability of atypical agents to have a positive impact on factors most associated with QoL, such as negative and affective symptoms and drug tolerability. The most appropriate clinical approach to maximize QoL and subjective wellbeing for patients with schizophrenia is to use atypical antipsychotic drugs as a first-line treatment approach. Ideally, an atypical drug which is known not to have a negative effect on attention, affect or motivation should be chosen.

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    • "However, SWN scores are not just reducible to BDI scores; a substantial proportion (46%) of the variance in SWN scores remained unexplained by BDI scores, supporting the utility of conducting independent analyses. Indeed, SW is the central predictor of medication compliance (Karow et al. 2007) and constitutes a distinct outcome measure in schizophrenia (Lambert & Naber, 2004); hence, investigating SW as a specific target of research is warranted . Examination of the items on these scales also reveals that they are founded on different constructs. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Patients with schizophrenia have substantially reduced subjective well-being (SW) compared to healthy individuals. It has been suggested that diminished SW may be related to deficits in the neural processing of reward but this has not been shown directly. We hypothesized that, in schizophrenia, lower SW would be associated with attenuated reward-related activation in the reward network. Method: Twenty patients with schizophrenia with a range of SW underwent a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) reward task. The brain activity underlying reward anticipation and outcome in schizophrenia was examined and compared to that of 12 healthy participants using a full factorial analysis. Region of interest (ROI) analyses of areas within the reward network and whole-brain analyses were conducted to reveal neural correlates of SW. Results: Reward-related neural activity in schizophrenia was not significantly different from that of healthy participants; however, the patients with schizophrenia showed significantly diminished SW. Both ROI and whole-brain analyses confirmed that SW scores in the patients correlated significantly with activity, specifically in the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC), during both reward anticipation and reward outcome. This association was not seen in the healthy participants. Conclusions: In patients with schizophrenia, reduced activation of the dACC during multiple aspects of reward processing is associated with lower SW. As the dACC has been widely linked to coupling of reward and action, and the link to SW is apparent over anticipation and outcome, these findings suggest that SW deficits in schizophrenia may be attributable to reduced integration of environmental rewarding cues, motivated behaviour and reward outcome.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2014 · Psychological Medicine
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    • "It is important to note that while patients in acute psychoses might not be able to respond to health-related QoL questionnaires, this is not the case for patients in remission. Reliable and consistent reporting has been demonstrated in many studies of patients suffering from mental health problems.61,62 "
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    ABSTRACT: Assessing quality of life (QoL) as a patient-reported outcome in adult psychiatry poses challenges in terms of concepts, methods, and applications in research and practice. This review will outline conceptually the construct of QoL, its dimensionality, and its representation across patient groups. Methodological challenges are examined, along with principles of QoL instrument development and testing, as well as across cultures. Application of instruments in epidemiological, clinical health economics, and health services research is reviewed based on pertinent literature. Validated measures for depression, psychosis, and anxiety disorders are available in adult psychiatry, and are increasingly used in research. Still, targeted measures are lacking for many mental health conditions and only rarely are tools applied in the practice context. Progress has been made in the development of instruments that are now ready for implementation. The information to be gained is valuable for identifying patient-reported needs for and benefits of treatment.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · Dialogues in clinical neuroscience
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    • "These are amongst several challenges facing psychiatrists when assessing functioning in their daily clinical practice. Others include difficulty in distinguishing functioning deficits from the effects of negative symptoms [7,45] and a frequent lack of distinction between quality of life and functioning measures [7,46]. In addition, only a relatively small number of randomized, controlled clinical trials of antipsychotic agents have assessed social functioning using a specific scale [7]. "
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    ABSTRACT: It has been estimated that as many as two thirds of patients with schizophrenia are unable to perform basic personal and social roles or activities. Occupational functioning and social functioning, as well as independent living, are considered as core domains of patient functioning. Improvement in patient functioning has also been recognized as an important treatment goal in guidelines and an important outcome by regulatory agencies. Nevertheless, information is lacking on how these aspects are being considered by psychiatrists across the world and how they are being assessed and managed. The ‘Europe, the Middle East and Africa functioning survey’ was designed to canvas opinions of psychiatrists across these regions to ascertain their perceptions of the clinical importance, assessment and management of functioning amongst their patients with schizophrenia. The survey comprised 17 questions and was conducted from March to April 2011 in 42 countries. Data collected included the demographics of respondents and their opinions regarding personal and social functioning in patients with schizophrenia. Results were obtained from 4,163 clinicians. Psychiatrists estimated that more than two thirds (70%) of their patients with schizophrenia showed impaired or very poor levels of functioning. The majority of psychiatrists (92%) believed that personal and social functioning was an important treatment goal for patients with schizophrenia, and 91% believed it was an important goal for patients’ families. The majority of psychiatrists (55%) assess the personal and social functioning of their patient at each visit; however, 81% reported that they determine the level of functioning through clinical interview and not by using a specific assessment scale. To manage personal and social functioning in their patients, 26% of psychiatrists prefer pharmacological interventions, whereas 46% prefer psychosocial interventions. Psychiatrists recognize that functioning is impaired/very poor in patients with schizophrenia, and there is still an important need to address functioning as a main treatment goal for patients with schizophrenia.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2013 · Annals of General Psychiatry
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