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The European Journal of Psychiatry

Print version ISSN 0213-6163


PISKULIC, Danijela; NELSON, Barnaby; ALVAREZ-JIMENEZ, Mario  and  MCGORRY, Patrick. Conventional and alternative preventive treatments in the first stages of schizophrenia. Eur. J. Psychiat. [online]. 2015, vol.29, n.2, pp.135-143. ISSN 0213-6163.

Background and Objectives: Schizophrenia is a progressive disorder that moves through multiple stages starting from non-specific risk factors to at-risk mental state (ARMS) (also known as ultra-high risk of psychosis or UHR) to first episode of psychosis (FEP) to chronic course marred by frequent relapses and varying degrees of disability. In order to prevent a deteriorating course, treatments designed to address and possibly even correct the abnormal neuronal system functioning and psychosocial deficits need to be implemented early before potentially irreversible and maladaptive changes take place. Methods: A literature search was conducted in the electronic databases Pub-Med and MEDLINE for relevant empirical and review articles published in peer reviewed journals. Results: The review of literature suggests that a range of pharmacological and psychosocial interventions are being used and trialled in treatment of early stages of schizophrenia with varying degrees of success. Conclusions: There is a variety of therapies for schizophrenia ranging in scope from improving symptom profiles to functional recovery and a good rationale for their use early in the course of illness. Treatments that focus on integrating pharmacological, psychological and psychosocial interventions with a strong evidence base for effectiveness need to be integrated for the best chance to avert or hinder schizophrenia. Schizophrenia research is moving towards a notion that early intervention can interact with existing and intact neuroplasticity mechanisms that can be harnessed in an adaptive manner to promote healthier neural system functioning and increased stress resiliency, which will in turn lead to symptom reduction and functional recovery.

Keywords : Early schizophrenia; Early psychosis; Treatment; Prevention.

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