Early Symptoms Of Psychosis Can Identify Particularly At-Risk Individuals

The number of people referred in the UK to mental health services for a suspected first ever episode of psychosis rose by nearly a third between April 2019 and April 2021. The stresses of COVID-19 have been blamed. Ideally, these people would have been identified as being at-risk before they first experienced the hallucinations and/or delusions that characterise the condition. That’s because early treatment can work to delay or even prevent a first episode from occurring. 

Research has revealed a suite of symptoms that can occur in this preceding period. These include odd or eccentric behaviours and ideas, unusual perceptual experiences, and suspiciousness — as well as hallucinations and delusions, but not at the level required for a diagnosis of psychosis. Non-psychotic early symptoms have been identified, too, such as anxiety, self-harm, sleep disturbance, depression and memory problems. Now a new paper in Psychological Medicine reveals which early symptoms, exactly, are associated with a faster than average progression to a first episode of psychosis — and also more symptoms later — and which are not. Continue reading →

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