Background Early detection and intervention in schizophrenic disorders is an important challenge for psychiatry.
Method Review of literature on effective biomedical and psychosocial intervention strategies.
Results Comprehensive programmes of drug and psychosocial interventions with adults who show early signs and symptoms of schizophrenic disorders may contribute to a lower incidence and prevalence of major episodes of schizophrenia. These programmes combine early detection of psychotic features by primary care services, with close liaison with mental health professionals. Long-term monitoring of signs of recurrence, with further intervention, appears essential to maintain these benefits.
Conclusions Field trials demonstrate that effective early treatment strategies can be routinely applied in clinical practice.