August 31, 2005

Remission of Schizophrenia

A sustained remission from schizophrenia gives one many of the skills that mentally healthy individuals have, but there are certain symptoms that may continue to persist.

In a study examining this phenomenon, researchers matched 28 patients with schizophrenia in remission who had lived independently for at least 2 years, to 28 patients who were still suffering from the symptoms of schizophrenia. For an individual with schizophrenia to be considered recovered they had to score 4 or less on the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale, attend school or go to work at least 1/2 time, live independently, and be social at least once a week (but not for professional reasons).

The patients(in remission) with schizophrenia had similar scores to the mentally healthy controls on tests that judged their "executive functioning, verbal fluency, and verbal working memory." There were certain skills that remained different for the recovered individuals in comparison to the 'normal' group.

"The only cognitive functioning that remained significantly different between the recovered patients and the normal subjects was early visual processing, as measured by the Forced-Choice Span on Apprehension Test, which is viewed as an enduring vulnerability or "trait marker" for schizophrenia" (Liberman and Kopelowicz, 2005).

This study suggests that remission from schizophrenia can lead to recovery of many of the skills that were impaired upon the onset of the disease.

Original Source: Sustained Remission of Schizophrenia. The American Journal of Psychiatry. September 2005. By Robert Paul Liberman and Alex Kopelowicz.


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