December 03, 2007

Emerging Schizophrenia / Psychosis in Young People - New Treatment Guidelines in UK

Past research has identified the importance of early identification and treatment of schizophrenia and early psychosis symptoms. This month the UK came out with a new treatment guideline for these early symptoms of schizophrenia. To our knowledge only Canada, the UK and Australia have published these early treatment guidelines for psychosis / schizophrenia. No similar guideline exists in the US (and the US isn't the leader in this field) so this is the best that you can do to understand the best treatment approaches.

Guidance to help front line practitioners achieve earlier diagnosis of psychosis in young people has been launched by the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCPsych).

The guidance, designed to support practitioners from primary care, relevant community agencies and specialist mental health services, was formulated following a report commissioned by the National Institute for Mental Health in England (NIMHE). The report highlighted a growing evidence base that early symptom recognition can reduce progression to psychosis and schizophrenia, and in some cases prevent the onset of a disabling psychotic illness.

The likelihood of developing psychosis (a broader category that includes schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and psychotic depression) is three in one hundred; with 80 per cent of cases starting between the ages of 16-30, and five per cent aged 15 or less. It is one of the most serious conditions that can affect a young person – there is a ten per cent lifetime risk of suicide and 12 per cent of those who suffer from it end up with no job. However, with early intervention, suicide risk is halved and over 50 per cent will go on to find employment.

Containing advice for GPs and listing key symptoms which may signal the onset of psychosis, the guidance aims to create a smoother pathway between primary care practitioners and mental health specialists to ensure early detection and provide vital support for young people with psychosis, and their families.

This information is written for doctors, but may be of value to family members who have a significant interest in this area and want to make sure that the medical professionals are taking appropriate action based on the most current information.

The report ‘Early Detection in Psychosis’, and guidance, can be downloaded here.

Source: UK Early detection in psychosis project

More Information: Worldwide Centers for Early Detection and Treatment of Schizophrenia and Psychosis


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