To see, if voluntary admission for treatment in first-episode psychosis results in better adherence to treatment and more favourable outcome than involuntary admission.
We compared consecutively first-admitted, hospitalised patients from a voluntary (n = 91) with an involuntary (n = 126) group as to psychopathology and functioning using Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale and Global Assessment of Functioning Scales at baseline, after 3 months and at 2 year follow-up. Moreover, duration of supportive psychotherapy, medication and number of hospitalisations during the 2 years were measured.
More women than men were admitted involuntarily. Voluntary patients had less psychopathology and better functioning than involuntary patients at baseline. No significant difference as to duration of psychotherapy and medication between groups was found. No significant difference was found as to psychopathology and functioning between voluntarily and involuntarily admitted patients at follow-up.
Legal admission status per se did not seem to influence treatment adherence and outcome.
Some studies in first-episode schizophrenia correlate shorter duration of untreated psychosis (DUP) with better prognosis, suggesting that timing of treatment may be important. A three-site prospective clinical trial in Norway and Denmark is underway to investigate the effect of the timing of treatment in first-episode psychosis. One health care sector (Rogaland, Norway) is experimental and has developed an early detection (ED) system to reduce DUP. Two other sectors (Ullevål, Norway, and Roskilde, Denmark) are comparison sectors and rely on existing detection and referral systems for first-episode cases. The study ultimately will compare early detected with usual detected patients. This paper describes the study's major independent intervention variable, i.e. a comprehensive education and detection system to change DUP in first onset psychosis.System variables and first results from the four-year inclusion period (1997-2000) are described. It includes targeted information towards the general public, health professionals and schools, and ED teams to recruit appropriate patients into treatment as soon as possible. This plus easy access to psychiatric services via ED teams systematically changed referral patterns of first-episode schizophrenia. DUP was reduced by 1.5 years (mean) from before the time the ED system was instituted (to 0.5 years). The ED strategies appear to be effective and to influence directly the community's help-seeking behaviour.
To identify predictors of non-remission in first-episode, non-affective psychosis.
During 4 years, we recruited 301 patients consecutively. Information about first remission at 3 months was available for 299 and at 2 years for 293 cases. Symptomatic and social outcomes were assessed at 3 months, 1 and 2 years.
One hundred and twenty-nine patients (43%) remained psychotic at 3 months and 48 patients (16.4%) remained psychotic over 2 years. When we compared premorbid and baseline data for the three groups, the non-remitted (n = 48), remitted for
Concepts and definitions pertaining to the early course of schizophrenia are reviewed, along with recent illustrative studies of first-episode schizophrenia. Early course parameters of a Norwegian first-episode sample are presented. This sample (n = 43) demonstrated strong gender differences, with male patients having significantly higher frequency of single marital status, lower educational status, schizophrenia, early age at onset, and lower Global Assessment of Functioning scores the last year before hospitalization. The duration of untreated psychosis (DUP) was long (mean = 114 weeks), as in other studies. Longer DUP was associated with poorer work, social, and global functioning in the year before admission, with more insidious onset of psychosis, and with more negative symptoms at first clinical presentation. Longer DUP was not associated with the age at onset of psychosis. These findings were mostly gender independent. The data help to frame questions about why patients can be psychotic for so long before getting help. Finally, suggestions are offered for the definition and measurement of early course parameters for schizophrenia.
North American outcome studies of schizophrenia conducted within the past quarter century are reviewed if their minimum average followup is 10 years and they meet at least some modern design criteria. Ten such investigations are described and summarized. Taken as a whole, they demonstrate that schizophrenia can be a chronic disease whose outcome on the average is worse than that of other major mental illnesses. It is associated with an increased risk for suicide, physical illness, and mortality. The schizophrenic process, however, is not relentlessly progressive, as originally described, but appears to plateau after 5-10 years of manifest illness. Overall, outcome is heterogeneous, but much of the variance can be linked to sample characteristics, including expressions of psychopathology (broad vs. narrow diagnostic criteria, subtypes, and comorbidity), dimensions of chronicity (length of manifest illness, treatment resistance, age of onset, and institutionalization), and other predictor variables (gender, marital status, socioeconomic status, physical setting, and premorbid health). Long-term followup studies have yet to demonstrate clearly any effect of treatment on the natural history of schizophrenia. Finally, these studies support a broad definition of schizophrenia.