To investigate the effect of integrated treatment on negative, psychotic and disorganised symptoms in patients with first episode psychosis.
A RCT comparing integrated treatment (IT) with standard treatment (ST) was conducted, including 547 patients, aged 18-45, diagnosed with schizophrenia spectrum disorders. All patients were assessed with SCAN, SAPS and SANS at entry and after 1 and 2 years. The IT consisted of assertive community treatment, multifamily groups, psycho-education and social skills training, and the caseload was 1:10 compared with 1:25 in ST. Since attrition was considerable, a mixed model analysis with repeated measurements was used to examine the possible effects of IT statistically.
IT reduced both negative and positive symptoms significantly better than ST. Most marked were the results from the negative dimension, where all five global scores from SANS had a significantly better reduction in IT. Sub-analyses did not single out any one element in the integrated treatment that could explain this result.
Integrated treatment significantly reduced both negative and psychotic symptoms, assumably due to the different psychosocial treatment elements that were provided in the IT. The results indicate that the integrated approach is crucial, since, most likely, many aspects of the integrated treatment have contributed to the reduction of symptoms.