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Causes and consequences of duration of untreated psychosis in schizophrenia

  • Richard J. Drake (a1), Clifford J. Haley (a1), Shahid Akhtar (a1) and Shôn W. Lewis (a1)

Abstract

Background

It is unclear what determines duration of untreated psychosis (DUP) in schizophrenia and why long DUP predicts poor outcome.

Aims

First, to test the hypothesis that specific patterns of symptoms and social functioning acting before treatment prolong DUP. Second, to clarify the mechanisms linking DUP with recovery after treatment.

Method

Two hundred and forty-eight consecutive first admissions with schizophrenia were interviewed to assess DUP, symptoms and social functioning at admission, and symptoms were re-assessed after 6–12 weeks.

Results

Median DUP was 12 weeks. Long DUP was predicted by poor insight, social isolation and preserved coping skills, but not by demographic factors. Even allowing for all these variables, long DUP predicted poor outcome.

Conclusions

Longer DUP results partly from a pattern of symptoms and social functioning which reduces concern by the sufferer and relevant others. DUP's relationship to outcome is strongest in the initial months of psychosis. This has implications for targeting early intervention.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Dr Richard Drake, SOCRATES, University Department of Psychiatry, Withington Hospital, Manchester M20 8LR, UK

Footnotes

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Declaration of interest

Funded by the Medical Research Council and Stanley Foundation.

Footnotes

References

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Causes and consequences of duration of untreated psychosis in schizophrenia

  • Richard J. Drake (a1), Clifford J. Haley (a1), Shahid Akhtar (a1) and Shôn W. Lewis (a1)

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Causes and consequences of duration of untreated psychosis in schizophrenia

  • Richard J. Drake (a1), Clifford J. Haley (a1), Shahid Akhtar (a1) and Shôn W. Lewis (a1)
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