To describe 1-year outcome in a large clinical epidemiologic sample of first-episode psychosis and its predictors.
A total of 301 patients with first-episode psychosis from four healthcare sectors in Norway and Denmark receiving common assessments and standardized treatment were evaluated at baseline, at 3 months, and at 1 year.
Substantial clinical and social improvements occurred within the first 3 months. At 1-year 66% were in remission, 11% in relapse, and 23% continuously psychotic. Female gender and better premorbid functioning were predictive of less severe negative symptoms. Shorter DUP was predictive for shorter time to remission, stable remission, less severe positive symptoms, and better social functioning. Female gender, better premorbid social functioning and more education also contributed to a better social functioning.
This first-episode sample, being well treated, may be typical of the early course of schizophrenia in contemporary centers.
During the last decades we have seen a new focus on early treatment of psychosis. Several reviews have shown that duration of untreated psychosis (DUP) is correlated to better outcome. However, it is still unknown whether early treatment will lead to a better long-term outcome. This study reports the effects of reducing DUP on 5-year course and outcome.
During 1997-2000 a total of 281 consecutive patients aged >17 years with first episode non-affective psychosis were recruited, of which 192 participated in the 5-year follow-up. A comprehensive early detection (ED) programme with public information campaigns and low-threshold psychosis detection teams was established in one healthcare area (ED-area), but not in a comparable area (no-ED area). Both areas ran equivalent treatment programmes during the first 2 years and need-adapted treatment thereafter.
At the start of treatment, ED-patients had shorter DUP and less symptoms than no-ED-patients. There were no significant differences in treatment (psychotherapy and medication) for the 5 years. Mixed-effects modelling showed better scores for the ED group on the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale negative, depressive and cognitive factors and for global assessment of functioning for social functioning at 5-year follow-up. The ED group also had more contacts with friends. Regression analysis did not find that these differences could be explained by confounders.
Early treatment had positive effects on clinical and functional status at 5-year follow-up in first episode psychosis.
This study tested the impression that there have been significant shifts in the relative diagnostic frequencies of schizophrenia and major affective disorders.
Data on discharge diagnoses from 1972 to 1988 were gathered from six North American psychiatric teaching hospitals (data from one extended through 1991), and rates for schizophrenia and major mood disorders were evaluated.
Total annual discharges increased by 6.6% during the study period. Large reciprocal shifts in the frequencies of diagnoses of schizophrenia and major affective disorders were found; schizoaffective disorder was a minor diagnosis. Beginning in the early 1970s, a gradual increase in the frequency of diagnoses of major affective disorders at all sites was accompanied by a corresponding decrease in diagnoses of schizophrenia at five of the six centers. Schizophrenia diagnoses decreased from a peak of 27% in 1976 to 9% in 1989 (a threefold decrease), and diagnoses of major affective disorders rose from a low of 10% in 1972 to 44% in 1990 (a fourfold increase).
Several forces may have influenced these changes. 1) DSM-III narrowed the definition of schizophrenia and broadened the category of major affective disorders. 2) Treatment-oriented diagnostic bias associated with the availability of lithium and other mood-altering agents may have encouraged consideration of affective disorders. 3) Economic and social forces, including better third-party reimbursement rates, may have favored affective diagnoses. 4) True increases in the incidence of affective disorders may have occurred. 5) Although a real decrease in new cases of schizophrenia may have occurred, this effect was probably minor and dominated by a larger shift of such diagnoses to affective categories.
Comment In: Am J Psychiatry. 1995 Feb;152(2):299-3007840375