It is well known that young women are at lower risk for schizophrenic psychoses than young men. However, little is known about the peculiarities of emerging psychosis in young women.
To describe characteristics of emerging psychosis in women.
Within the FePsy (Früherkennung von Psychosen = early detection of psychosis) study at the University of Basel Psychiatric Clinics we have examined consecutively all patients with a first episode of psychosis (FEP) or an at-risk mental state (ARMS) referred to us between 2000 and 2015.
Women did not significantly differ from men regarding psychopathology, neither in the ARMS nor in the FEP group. This was true for positive as well as negative symptoms and basic symptoms. Interestingly, women had a higher correlation of self-rating with observer-rating regarding psychotic symptoms. Duration of untreated psychosis was significantly lower in women than in men. Women seek help more quickly than men and their first contact is more often their partner.
Regarding neurocognition women showed a slightly better performance in verbal tasks. They also had higher prolactin levels and larger pituitary volumes, even when drug-naive.
Transition to psychosis occurred as often and as quickly in women as in men.
There are only few gender differences in patients with emerging psychosis, which resemble mainly those found in the general population, with women showing a better help-seeking behavior, being more partner-oriented, having a better verbal performance and potentially also a higher stress reactivity .
The author has not supplied his declaration of competing interest.