Patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders and substance use may have an earlier onset of illness compared to those without substance use. Most previous studies have, however, too small samples to control for confounding variables and the effect of specific types of substances. The present study aimed to examine the relationship between substance use and age at onset, in addition to the influence of possible confounders and specific substances, in a large and heterogeneous multisite sample of patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders.
The patients (N=1119) were recruited from catchment areas in Oslo, Stavanger and Bergen, Norway, diagnosed according to DSM-IV and screened for substance use history. Linear regression analysis was used to examine the relationship between substance use and age at onset of illness.
Patients with substance use (n=627) had about 3years earlier age at onset (23.0years; SD 7.1) than the abstinent group (n=492; 25.9years; SD 9.7). Only cannabis use was statistically significantly related to earlier age at onset. Gender or family history of psychosis did not influence the results.
Cannabis use is associated with 3years earlier onset of psychosis.
Identifying patients at risk of poor outcome at an early stage of illness can aid in treatment planning. This study sought to create a best-fit statistical model of known baseline and early-course risk factors to predict time in psychosis during a ten-year follow-up period after a first psychotic episode.
Between 1997 and 2000, 301 patients with DSM-IV nonorganic, nonaffective first-episode psychosis were recruited consecutively from catchment area-based sectors in Norway and Denmark. Specialized mental health personnel evaluated patients at baseline, three months, and one, two, five, and ten years (N=186 at ten years). Time in psychosis was defined as time with scores =4 on any of the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale items P1, P3, P5, P6, and G9. Evaluations were retrospective, based on clinical interviews and all available clinical information. During the first two years, patients were also evaluated by their clinicians at least biweekly. Baseline and early-course predictors of long-term course were identified with linear mixed-model analyses.
Four variables provided significant, additive predictions of longer time in psychosis during the ten-year follow-up: deterioration in premorbid social functioning, duration of untreated psychosis (DUP) of =26 weeks, core schizophrenia spectrum disorder, and no remission within three months.
First-episode psychosis patients should be followed carefully after the start of treatment. If symptoms do not remit within three months with adequate treatment, there is a considerable risk of a poor long-term outcome, particularly for patients with a deterioration in premorbid social functioning, a DUP of at least half a year, and a diagnosis within the core schizophrenia spectrum.
A recently published study of national data by McGrath et al in 2014 showed increased risk of schizophrenia (SCZ) in offspring associated with both early and delayed parental age, consistent with a U-shaped relationship. However, it remains unclear if the risk to the child is due to psychosocial factors associated with parental age or if those at higher risk for SCZ tend to have children at an earlier or later age.
To determine if there is a genetic association between SCZ and age at first birth (AFB) using genetically informative but independently ascertained data sets.
This investigation used multiple independent genome-wide association study data sets. The SCZ sample comprised 18?957 SCZ cases and 22?673 controls in a genome-wide association study from the second phase of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, and the AFB sample comprised 12?247 genotyped women measured for AFB from the following 4 community cohorts: Estonia (Estonian Genome Center Biobank, University of Tartu), the Netherlands (LifeLines Cohort Study), Sweden (Swedish Twin Registry), and the United Kingdom (TwinsUK). Schizophrenia genetic risk for each woman in the AFB community sample was estimated using genetic effects inferred from the SCZ genome-wide association study.
We tested if SCZ genetic risk was a significant predictor of response variables based on published polynomial functions that described the relationship between maternal age and SCZ risk in offspring in Denmark. We substituted AFB for maternal age in these functions, one of which was corrected for the age of the father, and found that the fit was superior for the model without adjustment for the father's age.
We observed a U-shaped relationship between SCZ risk and AFB in the community cohorts, consistent with the previously reported relationship between SCZ risk in offspring and maternal age when not adjusted for the age of the father. We confirmed that SCZ risk profile scores significantly predicted the response variables (coefficient of determination R2?=?1.1E-03, P?=?4.1E-04), reflecting the published relationship between maternal age and SCZ risk in offspring by McGrath et al in 2014.
This study provides evidence for a significant overlap between genetic factors associated with risk of SCZ and genetic factors associated with AFB. It has been reported that SCZ risk associated with increased maternal age is explained by the age of the father and that de novo mutations that occur more frequently in the germline of older men are the underlying causal mechanism. This explanation may need to be revised if, as suggested herein and if replicated in future studies, there is also increased genetic risk of SCZ in older mothers.
Early detection in first-episode psychosis confers advantages for negative, cognitive, and depressive symptoms after 1, 2, and 5 years, but longitudinal effects are unknown. The authors investigated the differences in symptoms and recovery after 10 years between regional health care sectors with and without a comprehensive program for the early detection of psychosis.
The authors evaluated 281 patients (early detection, N=141) 18 to 65 years old with a first episode of nonaffective psychosis between 1997 and 2001. Of these, 101 patients in the early-detection area and 73 patients in the usual-detection area were followed up at 10 years, and the authors compared their symptoms and recovery.
A significantly higher percentage of early-detection patients had recovered at the 10-year follow-up relative to usual-detection patients. This held true despite more severely ill patients dropping out of the study in the usual-detection area. Except for higher levels of excitative symptoms in the early-detection area, there were no symptom differences between the groups. Early-detection recovery rates were higher largely because of higher employment rates for patients in this group.
Early detection of first-episode psychosis appears to increase the chances of milder deficits and superior functioning. The mechanisms by which this strategy improves the long-term prognosis of psychosis remain speculative. Nevertheless, our findings over 10 years may indicate that a prognostic link exists between the timing of intervention and outcome that deserves additional study.
Comment In: Am J Psychiatry. 2012 Sep;169(9):992; author reply 992-322952080
Comment In: Am J Psychiatry. 2012 Apr;169(4):345-722476671
BACKGROUND: Early detection programmes aim to reduce the duration of untreated psychosis (DUP) by public education and by prompt access to treatment via active outreach detection teams. AIMS: To determine whether those with first-episode psychosis in an early detection healthcare area with existing referral channels differ from those who access care via detection teams. METHOD: Those with first-episode psychosis recruited via detection teams were compared with those accessing treatment via conventional channels, at baseline and after 3 months of acute treatment. RESULTS: Patients recruited via detection teams are younger males with a longer DUP, a less dramatic symptom picture and better functioning; however they recover more slowly, and have more symptoms at 3-month follow-up. CONCLUSIONS: After establishing low threshold active case-seeking detection teams, we found clear differences between those patients entering treatment via detection teams v. those obtaining treatment via the usual channels. Such profiling may be informative for early detection service development.
There is little knowledge of predictors for involuntary hospitalizations in acute psychiatric units.
The Multi-center study of Acute Psychiatry included all cases of acute consecutive psychiatric admissions in twenty acute psychiatric units in Norway, representing about 75% of the acute psychiatric units during 2005-2006. Data included admission process, rating of Global Assessment of Functioning and Health of the Nation Outcome Scales.
Fifty-six percent were voluntary and 44% involuntary hospitalized. Regression analysis identified contact with police, referral by physicians who did not know the patient, contact with health services within the last 48 h, not living in own apartment or house, high scores for aggression, level of hallucinations and delusions, and contact with an out-of office clinic within the last 48 h and low GAF symptom score as predictors for involuntary hospitalization. Involuntary patients were older, more often male, non-Norwegian, unmarried and had lower level of education. They more often had disability pension or received social benefits, and were more often admitted during evenings and nights, found to have more frequent substance abuse and less often responsible for children and were less frequently motivated for admission. Involuntary patients had less contact with psychiatric services before admission. Most patients were referred because of a deterioration of their psychiatric illness.
Involuntary hospitalization seems to be guided by the severity of psychiatric symptoms and factors "surrounding" the referred patient. Important factors seem to be male gender, substance abuse, contact with own GP, aggressive behavior, and low level of social functioning and lack of motivation. There was a need for assistance by the police in a significant number of cases. This complicated picture offers some important challenges to the organization of primary and psychiatric health services and a need to consider better pathways to care.
Network for Clinical Psychosis Research, Division of Psychiatry, Stavanger University Hospital, Norway; Network for Medical Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Stavanger, Norway. Electronic address: email@example.com.
The role of compulsory treatment of serious mental disorders has been the topic of ongoing public debate involving among others mental health professionals, service providers, service user advocates, relatives of service users, media commentators and politicians. However, relatively little is known about general public attitudes towards involuntary admission and compulsory treatment of people with various mental disorders. This article examines the attitudes in a representative sample of Norway's population towards the use of involuntary admission and treatment, and under which circumstances does the general public consider compulsory treatment to be justified in the Norwegian mental health care services.
Data were collected from a representative sample of the population in Norway aged 18 and older. The sample was stratified for gender, geographical region and age distribution (n=2001). The survey was performed in the months of May 2009 (n=1000) and May 2011 (n=1001), using Computer Assisted Telephone Interviews (CATI) by an independent polling company. All respondents were provided a general definition of coercive intervention before the interview was conducted.
Univariate descriptions and bivariate analyses were performed by means of cross-tabulation, analysis of variance (one-way ANOVA) and comparing of group of means. Cohen's d was used as the measure for effect size.
Between 87% and 97% of those surveyed expressed strong or partial agreement with the use of involuntary admissions or compulsory treatment related to specified cases and situations. The majority of interviewees (56%) expressed the opinion that overall, current levels are acceptable. A further, 34% were of the opinion that current levels are too low, while only 9.9% of respondents supported a reduction in the level of involuntary treatment. Lower levels of education were associated with a more positive attitude towards involuntary admission and treatment. There was stronger support for admission to prevent suicide than the possibility of violence by the mentally ill.
The Norwegian adult population largely supports current legislation and practices regarding involuntary admission and compulsory treatment in the mental health services.
Substance misuse is a well-recognized co-morbidity to psychosis and has been linked to poor prognostic outcomes in patients. Researchers have yet to investigate the difference in rates and characteristics between first-episode Substance Induced Psychosis (SIP) and primary psychosis. We aimed at comparing patients with SIP to primary psychosis patients with or without substance misuse at baseline.
Thirty SIP patients, 45 primary psychosis patients with substance misuse (PS) and 66 primary psychosis patients without substance misuse (PNS) in a well-defined Norwegian catchment area were included from 2007-2011. Assessments included symptom levels (PANSS), diagnostic interviews (SCID), premorbid function scale (PAS) and global functioning (GAF f/s).
Treated incidence for SIP was found to be 6.5/100 000 persons per year, 9.7/100 000 persons per year for PS and 24.1/100 000 persons per year for PNS (15-65 yrs). Patients who had substance misuse (PS and SIP) were more likely to be male. Duration of Untreated Psychosis (DUP) was significantly shorter in the SIP group (5.0 wks., p?=?0.003) and these had more positive symptoms on the PANSS (p?=?0.049). SIP patients also did poorer on early youth academic levels on the PAS.
Yearly treated incidence of SIP is 6.5/100 000 persons per year in a Norwegian catchment area. SIP patients have short DUPs, are more likely to be male, have more positive symptoms at baseline and poorer premorbid academic scores in early adolescence. Follow-up will evaluate stability of diagnosis and characteristics.
First episode psychosis (FEP) patients have an increased risk for violence and criminal activity prior to initial treatment. However, little is known about the prevalence of criminality and acts of violence many years after implementation of treatment for a first episode psychosis.
To assess the prevalence of criminal and violent behaviors during a 10-year follow-up period after the debut of a first psychosis episode, and to identify early predictors and concomitant risk factors of violent behavior.
A prospective design was used with comprehensive assessments of criminal behavior, drug abuse, clinical, social and treatment variables at baseline, five, and 10-year follow-up. Additionally, threatening and violent behavior was assessed at 10-year follow-up. A clinical epidemiological sample of first-episode psychosis patients (n=178) was studied.
During the 10-year follow-up period, 20% of subjects had been apprehended or incarcerated. At 10-year follow-up, 15% of subjects had exposed others to threats or violence during the year before assessment. Illegal drug use at baseline and five-year follow-up, and a longer duration of psychotic symptoms were found to be predictive of violent behavior during the year preceding the 10-year follow-up.
After treatment initiation, the overall prevalence of violence in psychotic patients drops gradually to rates close to those of the general population. However, persistent illicit drug abuse is a serious risk factor for violent behavior, even long after the start of treatment. Achieving remission early and reducing substance abuse may contribute to a lower long-term risk for violent behavior in FEP patients.
The Norwegian Mental Health Care Act states that patients who are involuntarily admitted to a hospital must be reevaluated by a psychiatrist or a specialist in clinical psychology within 24h to assess whether the patient fulfills the legal criteria for the psychiatric status and symptoms. International research on the use of coercive hospitalization in psychiatry is scarce, and an investigation of Norway's routine re-evaluation of involuntarily referred patients may expand knowledge about this aspect of psychiatric treatment. The aim of this study was to investigate the extent to which Involuntarily Hospitalized (IH) patients were converted to a Voluntary Hospitalization (VH), and to identify predictive factors leading to conversion. The Multi-center Acute Psychiatry study (MAP) included all cases of acute consecutive psychiatric admissions across twenty Norwegian acute psychiatric units in health trusts in Norway across 3months in 2005-06, representing about 75% of the psychiatric acute emergency units in Norway. The incident of conversion from involuntarily hospitalization (IH) to voluntary hospitalization (VH) was analyzed using generalized linear mixed modeling. Out of 3338 patients referred for admission, 1468 were IH (44%) and 1870 were VH. After re-evaluation, 1148 (78.2%) remained on involuntary hospitalization, while 320 patients (21.8%) were converted to voluntary hospitalization. The predictors of conversion from involuntary to voluntary hospitalization after re-evaluation of a specialist included patients wanting admission, better scores on Global Assessment of Symptom scale, fewer hallucinations and delusions and higher alcohol intake.
The 24h re-evaluation period for patients referred for involuntary hospitalization, as stipulated by the Norwegian Mental Health Care Act, appeared to give adequate opportunity to reduce unnecessary involuntary hospitalization, while safeguarding the patient's right to VH.