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Adverse childhood experiences (ACE) can affect educational attainments, but little is known about their impact on educational achievements in people at clinical high risk of psychosis (CHR).
In total, 344 CHR individuals and 67 healthy controls (HC) were recruited as part of the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme-funded multicenter study the European Network of National Schizophrenia Networks Studying Gene–Environment Interactions (EU-GEI). The brief version of the Child Trauma Questionnaire was used to measure ACE, while educational attainments were assessed using a semi-structured interview.
At baseline, compared with HC, the CHR group spent less time in education and had higher rates of ACE, lower rates of employment, and lower estimated intelligence quotient (IQ). Across both groups, the total number of ACE was associated with fewer days in education and lower level of education. Emotional abuse was associated with fewer days in education in HC. Emotional neglect was associated with a lower level of education in CHR, while sexual abuse was associated with a lower level of education in HC. In the CHR group, the total number of ACE, physical abuse, and neglect was significantly associated with unemployment, while emotional neglect was associated with employment.
ACE are strongly associated with developmental outcomes such as educational achievement. Early intervention for psychosis programs should aim at integrating specific interventions to support young CHR people in their educational and vocational recovery. More generally, public health and social interventions focused on the prevention of ACE (or reduce their impact if ACE occur) are recommended.
Social connectedness might positively influence the course of clinical symptoms in people with psychotic disorders.
This study examines satisfaction with social connectedness (SSC) as predictor of positive and negative symptoms in people with a psychotic disorder.
Data from the Pharmacotherapy Monitoring and Outcome Survey (PHAMOUS, 2014-2019) was used from patients diagnosed with a psychotic disorder (N=2109). Items about social connectedness of the Manchester short assessment of Quality of Life (ManSA) were used to measure SSC. Linear mixed models were used to estimate the association of SSC with the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) after one and two years against α=0.01. Analyses were adjusted for symptoms, time since onset, gender and age. Additionally, fluctuation of positive and negative symptom scores over time was estimated.
Mean duration of illness of the sample was 18.8 years (SD 10.7) with >65% showing only small variation in positive and negative symptoms over a two to five-year time period. After adjustment for covariates, SSC showed to be negatively associated with positive symptoms after one year (β=-0.47, p<0.001, 95% CI=-0.70,-0.25) and two years (β =-0.59, p<0.001, 95% CI = -0.88,-0.30), and for negative symptoms after one year (β=-0.52, p<0.001, 95% CI = -0.77,-0.27). The prediction of negative symptoms was not significant at two years.
This research indicates that interventions on SSC might positively impact mental health for people with psychosis. SSC is a small and robust predictor of future levels of positive symptoms. Negative symptoms could be predicted by SSC at one year.
Psychosis is associated with a reasoning bias, which manifests as a tendency to ‘jump to conclusions’. We examined this bias in people at clinical high-risk for psychosis (CHR) and investigated its relationship with their clinical outcomes.
In total, 303 CHR subjects and 57 healthy controls (HC) were included. Both groups were assessed at baseline, and after 1 and 2 years. A ‘beads’ task was used to assess reasoning bias. Symptoms and level of functioning were assessed using the Comprehensive Assessment of At-Risk Mental States scale (CAARMS) and the Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF), respectively. During follow up, 58 (16.1%) of the CHR group developed psychosis (CHR-T), and 245 did not (CHR-NT). Logistic regressions, multilevel mixed models, and Cox regression were used to analyse the relationship between reasoning bias and transition to psychosis and level of functioning, at each time point.
There was no association between reasoning bias at baseline and the subsequent onset of psychosis. However, when assessed after the transition to psychosis, CHR-T participants showed a greater tendency to jump to conclusions than CHR-NT and HC participants (55, 17, 17%; χ2 = 8.13, p = 0.012). There was a significant association between jumping to conclusions (JTC) at baseline and a reduced level of functioning at 2-year follow-up in the CHR group after adjusting for transition, gender, ethnicity, age, and IQ.
In CHR participants, JTC at baseline was associated with adverse functioning at the follow-up. Interventions designed to improve JTC could be beneficial in the CHR population.
Compulsory admission procedures of patients with mental disorders vary between countries in Europe. The Ethics Committee of the European Psychiatric Association (EPA) launched a survey on involuntary admission procedures of patients with mental disorders in 40 countries to gather information from all National Psychiatric Associations that are members of the EPA to develop recommendations for improving involuntary admission processes and promote voluntary care.
The survey focused on legislation of involuntary admissions and key actors involved in the admission procedure as well as most common reasons for involuntary admissions.
We analyzed the survey categorical data in themes, which highlight that both medical and legal actors are involved in involuntary admission procedures.
We conclude that legal reasons for compulsory admission should be reworded in order to remove stigmatization of the patient, that raising awareness about involuntary admission procedures and patient rights with both patients and family advocacy groups is paramount, that communication about procedures should be widely available in lay-language for the general population, and that training sessions and guidance should be available for legal and medical practitioners. Finally, people working in the field need to be constantly aware about the ethical challenges surrounding compulsory admissions.
To determine predictors of transition from ultrahigh risk into psychosis.
The Dutch EDIE trial has included 201 people with an ultrahigh risk for psychosis. These were included with both a referral based strategy and a screening all help-seeking people strategy. The study had a 24 month inclusion period and an 18 mont follow-up period with each patient. The preliminary results are presented.
A loogistic regression was performed over 164 cases. 29 patients developed a psychosis.
Predictor variables were depression, social intercation anxiety, positive symptoms on the CAARMS, negative symptoms on the CAARMS, quality of life, social functioning, genetic risk, and the personal beliefs about illness.
The backward logistice regression (likelyhood ratio) discarded four variables. Predictors of psychosis were depression, positive symptoms, genetic liability and beliefs about illness at basline.
People with hihd scores on depression and positive symptoms are likely to develop a psychosis. Also those who have a psychotic parent and positive symptoms a more lekly to make a transition. Interestingly people that consider their condition as hopeless, feel entrapped by their condition, excluded by other pople and not in control of symptoms also have a heightened chance for developing psychosis in this sample.
Patients with chronic depression (CD) by definition respond less well to standard forms of psychotherapy and are more likely to be high utilizers of psychiatric resources. Therefore, the aim of this guidance paper is to provide a comprehensive overview of current psychotherapy for CD. The evidence of efficacy is critically reviewed and recommendations for clinical applications and research are given.
We performed a systematic literature search to identify studies on psychotherapy in CD, evaluated the retrieved documents and developed evidence tables and recommendations through a consensus process among experts and stakeholders.
We developed 5 recommendations which may help providers to select psychotherapeutic treatment options for this patient group. The EPA considers both psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy to be effective in CD and recommends both approaches. The best effect is achieved by combined treatment with psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy, which should therefore be the treatment of choice. The EPA recommends psychotherapy with an interpersonal focus (e.g. the Cognitive Behavioural Analysis System of Psychotherapy [CBASP]) for the treatment of CD and a personalized approach based on the patient's preferences.
The DSM-5 nomenclature of persistent depressive disorder (PDD), which includes CD subtypes, has been an important step towards a more differentiated treatment and understanding of these complex affective disorders. Apart from dysthymia, ICD-10 still does not provide a separate entity for a chronic course of depression. The differences between patients with acute episodic depression and those with CD need to be considered in the planning of treatment. Specific psychotherapeutic treatment options are recommended for patients with CD.
Patients with chronic forms of depression should be offered tailored psychotherapeutic treatments that address their specific needs and deficits. Combination treatment with psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy is the first-line treatment recommended for CD. More research is needed to develop more effective treatments for CD, especially in the longer term, and to identify which patients benefit from which treatment algorithm.
Sex differences in cognitive functioning have long been recognized in schizophrenia patients and healthy controls (HC). However, few studies have focused on patients with an at-risk mental state (ARMS) for psychosis. Thus, the aim of the present study was to investigate sex differences in neurocognitive performance in ARMS patients compared with HC.
The data analyzed in this study were collected within the multicenter European Gene–Environment Interactions study (11 centers). A total of 343 ARMS patients (158 women) and 67 HC subjects (33 women) were included. All participants completed a comprehensive neurocognitive battery. Linear mixed effects models were used to explore whether sex differences in cognitive functioning were present in the total group (main effect of sex) and whether sex differences were different for HC and ARMS (interaction between sex and group).
Women performed better in social cognition, speed of processing, and verbal learning than men regardless of whether they were ARMS or HC. However, only differences in speed of processing and verbal learning remained significant after correction for multiple testing. Additionally, ARMS patients displayed alterations in attention, current IQ, speed of processing, verbal learning, and working memory compared with HC.
Findings indicate that sex differences in cognitive functioning in ARMS are similar to those seen between healthy men and women. Thus, it appears that sex differences in cognitive performance may not be specific for ARMS, a finding resembling that in patients with schizophrenic psychoses.
Gender differences in symptomatology in chronic schizophrenia and first episode psychosis patients have often been reported. However, little is known about gender differences in those at risk of psychotic disorders. This study investigated gender differences in symptomatology, drug use, comorbidity (i.e. substance use, affective and anxiety disorders) and global functioning in patients with an at-risk mental state (ARMS) for psychosis.
The sample consisted of 336 ARMS patients (159 women) from the prodromal work package of the EUropean network of national schizophrenia networks studying Gene-Environment Interactions (EU-GEI; 11 centers). Clinical symptoms, drug use, comorbidity and functioning were assessed at first presentation to an early detection center using structured interviews.
In unadjusted analyses, men were found to have significantly higher rates of negative symptoms and current cannabis use while women showed higher rates of general psychopathology and more often displayed comorbid affective and anxiety disorders. No gender differences were found for global functioning. The results generally did not change when corrected for possible cofounders (e.g. cannabis use). However, most differences did not withstand correction for multiple testing.
Findings indicate that gender differences in symptomatology and comorbidity in ARMS are similar to those seen in overt psychosis and in healthy controls. However, observed differences are small and would only be reliably detected in studies with high statistical power. Moreover, such small effects would likely not be clinically meaningful.
Impaired metacognition is associated with difficulties in the daily functioning of people with psychosis. Metacognition can be divided into four domains: Self-Reflection, Understanding the Other's Mind, Decentration, and Mastery. This study investigated whether Metacognitive Reflection and Insight Therapy (MERIT) can be used to improve metacognition.
This study is a randomized controlled trial. Patients in the active condition (n = 35) received forty MERIT sessions, the control group (n = 35) received treatment as usual. Multilevel intention-to-treat and completers analyses were performed for metacognition and secondary outcomes (psychotic symptomatology, cognitive insight, Theory of Mind, empathy, depression, self-stigma, quality of life, social functioning, and work readiness).
Eighteen out of 35 participants finished treatment, half the drop-out stemmed from therapist attrition (N = 5) or before the first session (N = 4). Intention-to-treat analysis demonstrated that in both groups metacognition improved between pre- and post-measurements, with no significant differences between the groups. Patients who received MERIT continued to improve, while the control group returned to baseline, leading to significant differences at follow-up. Completers analysis (18/35) showed improvements on the Metacognition Assessment Scale (MAS-A) scales Self Reflectivity and metacognitive Mastery at follow-up. No effects were found on secondary outcomes.
On average, participants in the MERIT group were, based on MAS-A scores, at follow-up more likely to recognize their thoughts as changeable rather than as facts. MERIT might be useful for patients whose self-reflection is too limited to benefit from other therapies. Given how no changes were found in secondary measures, further research is needed. Limitations and suggestions for future research are discussed.
Childhood trauma is associated with higher risk for mental disorders, including psychosis. Heightened sensitivity to social stress may be a mechanism. This virtual reality study tested the effect of childhood trauma on level of paranoid ideations and distress in response to social stress, in interaction with psychosis liability and level of social stress exposure.
Seventy-five individuals with higher psychosis liability (55 with recent onset psychotic disorder and 20 at ultra-high risk for psychosis) and 95 individuals with lower psychosis liability (42 siblings and 53 controls) were exposed to a virtual café in five experiments with 0–3 social stressors (crowded, other ethnicity and hostility). Paranoid ideation was measured after each experiment. Subjective distress was self-rated before and after experiments. Multilevel random regression analyses were used to test main effects of childhood trauma and interaction effects.
Childhood trauma was more prevalent in individuals with higher psychosis liability, and was associated with higher level of (subclinical) psychotic and affective symptoms. Individuals with a history of childhood trauma responded with more subjective distress to virtual social stress exposures. The effects of childhood trauma on paranoia and subjective distress were significantly stronger when the number of virtual environmental stressors increased. Higher psychosis liability increased the effect of childhood trauma on peak subjective distress and stress reactivity during experiments.
Childhood trauma is associated with heightened social stress sensitivity and may contribute to psychotic and affective dysregulation later in life, through a sensitized paranoid and stress response to social stressors.
Current ultra-high-risk (UHR) criteria appear insufficient to predict imminent onset of first-episode psychosis, as a meta-analysis showed that about 20% of patients have a psychotic outcome after 2 years. Therefore, we aimed to develop a stage-dependent predictive model in UHR individuals who were seeking help for co-morbid disorders.
Baseline data on symptomatology, and environmental and psychological factors of 185 UHR patients (aged 14–35 years) participating in the Dutch Early Detection and Intervention Evaluation study were analysed with Cox proportional hazard analyses.
At 18 months, the overall transition rate was 17.3%. The final predictor model included five variables: observed blunted affect [hazard ratio (HR) 3.39, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.56–7.35, p < 0.001], subjective complaints of impaired motor function (HR 5.88, 95% CI 1.21–6.10, p = 0.02), beliefs about social marginalization (HR 2.76, 95% CI 1.14–6.72, p = 0.03), decline in social functioning (HR 1.10, 95% CI 1.01–1.17, p = 0.03), and distress associated with suspiciousness (HR 1.02, 95% CI 1.00–1.03, p = 0.01). The positive predictive value of the model was 80.0%. The resulting prognostic index stratified the general risk into three risk classes with significantly different survival curves. In the highest risk class, transition to psychosis emerged on average ⩾8 months earlier than in the lowest risk class.
Predicting a first-episode psychosis in help-seeking UHR patients was improved using a stage-dependent prognostic model including negative psychotic symptoms (observed flattened affect, subjective impaired motor functioning), impaired social functioning and distress associated with suspiciousness. Treatment intensity may be stratified and personalized using the risk stratification.
Although there is evidence for the effectiveness of interventions for psychosis among ultra-high-risk (UHR) groups, health economic evaluations are lacking. This study aimed to determine the cost effectiveness and cost–utility of cognitive–behavioural therapy (CBT) to prevent first-episode psychosis.
The Dutch Early Detection and Intervention Evaluation study was a randomized controlled trial of 196 UHR patients with an 18-month follow-up. All participants were treated with routine care (RC) for non-psychotic disorders. The experimental group (n = 95) received add-on CBT to prevent first-episode psychosis. We report the intervention, medical and travel costs, as well as costs arising from loss of productivity. Treatment response was defined as psychosis-free survival and quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) gained.
In the cost-effectiveness analysis, the proportion of averted psychoses was significantly higher in the CBT condition (89.5% v. 76.2%). CBT showed a 63.7% probability of being more cost effective, because it was less costly than RC by US$844 (£551) per prevented psychosis. In the cost–utility analysis, QALY health gains were slightly higher for CBT than for RC (0.60 v. 0.57) and the CBT intervention had a 52.3% probability of being the superior treatment because, for equal or better QALY gains, the costs of CBT were lower than those of RC.
Add-on preventive CBT for UHR resulted in a significant reduction in the incidence of first psychosis. QALY gains show little difference between the two conditions. The CBT intervention proved to be cost saving.
To advance mental health care use by developing recommendations to increase trust from the general public and patients, those who have been in contact with services, those who have never been in contact and those who care for their families in the mental health care system.
We performed a systematic literature search and the retrieved documents were evaluated by two independent reviewers. Evidence tables were generated and recommendations were developed in an expert and stakeholder consensus process.
We developed five recommendations which may increase trust in mental health care services and advance mental health care service utilization.
Trust is a mutual, complex, multidimensional and dynamic interrelationship of a multitude of factors. Its components may vary between individuals and over time. They may include, among others, age, place of residence, ethnicity, culture, experiences as a service user, and type of disorder. For mental health care services, issues of knowledge about mental health services, confidentiality, continuity of treatment, dignity, safety and avoidance of stigma and coercion are central elements to increase trust.
Evidence-based recommendations to increase mutual trust of service users and psychiatrists have been developed and may help to increase mental health care service utilization.
Depression is a clinically relevant dimension, associated with both positive and negative symptoms, in patients with schizophrenia. However, in siblings it is unknown whether depression is associated with subclinical positive and negative symptoms.
Depressive symptoms and their association with positive and negative symptoms were examined in 813 healthy siblings of patients with a non-affective psychotic disorder, 822 patients and 527 healthy controls. Depressive episodes meeting DSM-IV-TR criteria (lifetime) and depressed mood (lifetime) were assessed with the Comprehensive Assessment of Symptoms and History (CASH) in all three groups. In the patient group, the severity of positive and negative psychosis symptoms was assessed with the CASH. In the siblings and healthy controls, the severity of subclinical psychosis symptoms was assessed with the Community Assessment of Psychic Experiences (CAPE).
Patients reported more lifetime depressed mood and more depressive episodes than both siblings and controls. Siblings had a higher chance of meeting lifetime depressive episodes than the controls; no significant differences in depressed mood were found between siblings and controls. In all three groups the number and duration of depressive symptoms were associated with (sub)clinical negative symptoms. In the patients and siblings the number of depressive symptoms was furthermore associated with (sub)clinical positive symptoms. Finally, lifetime depressed mood showed familial clustering but this clustering was absent for lifetime depressive episodes.
These findings suggest that a co-occurring genetic vulnerability for both depressive and psychotic symptomatology exists on a clinical and a subclinical level.
Ethnicity has been associated with different incidence rates and different symptom profiles in young patients with psychotic-like disorders. No studies so far have examined the effect of ethnicity on symptoms in people with an At Risk Mental State (ARMS).
In this cross-sectional study, we analysed the relationship between ethnicity and baseline data on the severity of psychopathology scores in 201 help-seeking patients who met the ARMS criteria and agreed to participate in the Dutch Early Detection and Intervention (EDIE-NL) trial. Eighty-seven of these patients had a non-Dutch ethnicity. We explored the possible mediating role of ethnic identity.
Higher rates of negative symptoms, and of anhedonia in particular, were found in the ethnic minority group. This result could be attributed mainly to the Moroccan-Dutch and Turkish-Dutch subgroups, who also presented with more depression symptoms when the groups were examined separately. The ethnic minority group displayed a lower level of ethnic group identity compared to the immigrants of the International Comparative Study of Ethnocultural Youth (ICSEY). Ethnic identity was inversely related to symptoms in the Moroccan-Dutch patient group.
The prevalence of more severe negative symptoms and depression symptoms in ethnic minority groups deserves more attention, as the experience of attenuated positive symptoms when accompanied by negative symptoms or distress has proven to be predictive for transition to a first psychotic episode.
There is increasing evidence that cognitive–behavioural therapy can be an effective intervention for patients experiencing drug-refractory positive symptoms of schizophrenia.
To investigate the effects of cognitive–behavioural therapy on in-patients with treatment-refractory psychotic symptoms.
Manualised therapy was compared with supportive counselling in a randomised controlled study. Both interventions were delivered by experienced psychologists over 16 sessions of treatment. Therapy fidelity was assessed by two independent raters. Participants underwent masked assessment at baseline, after treatment and at 6 months' follow-up. Main outcome measures were the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale and the Psychotic Symptoms Rating Scale. The analysis was by intention to treat.
Participants receiving cognitive–behavioural therapy had improved with regard to auditory hallucinations and illness insight at the post-treatment assessment, but these findings were not maintained at follow-up.
Cognitive–behavioural therapy showed modest short-term benefits over supportive counselling for treatment-refractory positive symptoms of schizophrenia.
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