Predictor of Non-remission for First-episode Psychoses

Schizophrenia is a very serious psychotic disorder that affects at least one percent of the adult population in the United States. Sadly, many people who first develop the psychotic symptoms associated with this devastating illness often don’t receive treatment right away. A recent study now shows a correlation between the length of time that psychotic symptoms are present and untreated, and whether or not and how soon the patient achieves remission of those symptoms.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, was based on patient data from 4 psychiatric facilities in Denmark. The time frame was 1997 to 2000, and included 301 patients. The research team looked at the variables associated with non-remission of first-episode psychosis.

Remission means that a minimum of one week occurs during which no psychotic symptoms are present. After 3 months of treatment, 129 out of 299 patients still had psychotic symptoms. After 2 years of treatment, 48 out of 293 patients (16.4%) had not achieved remission.

The researchers found that the only variable that significantly predicted non-remission of psychotic symptoms at the 2 year treatment mark was the duration of untreated psychosis, or DUP. This study suggests that treatment providers need to pay particular attention to those patients who had longer DUPs and did not achieve remission after the first 3 months of remission.

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