Does early treatment of schizophrenia prevent long-term disability?

Updated: Mar 16, 2018
  • Author: Frances R Frankenburg, MD; Chief Editor: Glen L Xiong, MD  more...
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Wunderink and colleagues followed just over 100 subjects participating in a study of first episode psychosis. Subjects were randomly assigned to antipsychotic medication dose reduction or dose maintenance. At 7 years follow-up, they found that those treated with lower doses or no antipsychotics had more relapses and hospitalizations. This was not an unexpected finding. However, they also found that these lightly medicated patients overall were functioning better. They concluded that it seems that there are different responses of symptoms and functioning to medication. [89]

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has initiated a research project, Recovery After an Initial Schizophrenia Episode (RAISE), to determine whether coordinated and aggressive treatment in the earliest stages of illness can prevent long-term disability from schizophrenia. The RAISE Early Treatment Program (ETP), an integrated program delivered in community clinics, will be compared with the RAISE Connection program, a program offered in Baltimore and Manhattan in partnership with state mental health programs.

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