First-episode psychosis: An update

Bonga Chiliza, Piet Oosthuizen, Robin Emsley


Interest in the subject of first-episode psychosis has increasedconsiderably in the last two decades. At present, a numberof centres around the world focus on early identificationand intervention in people with psychotic disorders.Researchers have focused particularly on people who arepossibly experiencing the prodromal phase of the illness inthe hope that, by instituting appropriate early intervention,the outcome of schizophrenia will be improved. Patientswith first-episode psychosis present with different symptomdomains that should be taken into account when planningtreatment. Most patients initially respond to treatment;however, there is a high rate of relapse within a few years.It is therefore important that we continue to seek improvedrelapse prevention strategies. There has also been aresurgence of interest in psychosocial risk factors for thedevelopment of schizophrenia in the recent literature.We review the literature on first-episode psychosis andhighlight the significant findings.

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Submitted: 09 April 2008
Published: 01 March 2008

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South African Journal of Psychiatry    |    ISSN: 1608-9685 (PRINT)    |    ISSN: 2078-6786 (ONLINE)