Early intervention facilitates improved treatment outcomes for early-phase psychosis, says study

Early intervention facilitates improved treatment outcomes for early-phase psychosis, says study

Early intervention services (EIS) can improve treatment outcomes for early-phase psychosis, revealed a recent study by a group of researchers at the Zucker Hillside Hospital, New York. The study found that early intervention resulted in superior results compared to two co-primary consequences, namely all-cause treatment discontinuation and the risk of at least one incident of psychiatric hospitalization. The authors said that treatment discontinuation was the reason behind the selection of these outcome measures.

The study collected data from 2,176 patients with the mean age of 27.5 years, out of which, 62 percent participants were male. Conducted according to Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and MetaAnalyses (PRISMA) guidelines, the study involved 10 randomized clinical trials whose methodological quality included in the review was assessed using the Cochrane Collaboration’s tool. The findings, published in the JAMA Psychiatry in May 2018, were based on a systematic review and meta-analysis of multiple randomized clinical trials conducted under the guidance of Christoph U. Correll, M.D., of The Zucker Hillside Hospital. The hospital was selected by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to establish the Advanced Center for Intervention and Services Research for the Study of Schizophrenia, one of four such centers nationwide.

Early intervention services can benefit patients in multiple ways

According to Correll, early intervention implied “diagnosis at the earliest possible point, even presymptomatically, followed by proportional or stage-specific intervention” continued for as long as necessary and effective, and provided by specialists. Treatment as usual (TAU) was different from early intervention in the way that it used a multiple referral system instead of care and support provided by a specially integrated team. Since schizophrenia is one of the most debilitating disorders in the United States, and its treatment involves enormous rehabilitation costs, establishing the efficacy of intervention services is important, the authors said.

The findings reported that a well-coordinated intervention and phase-specific treatment help not only determine the symptoms of psychotic illnesses at an early stage but also reduce the chances of treatment discontinuation, a relapse or aggravation of the symptoms.

Findings appreciated

The study by Correll and his group has garnered attention and praise worldwide. Coordination of care was recently talked about at the annual conference of the National Council for Behavioral Health (NatCon18), held at Fort Washington, Maryland. Addressing the event, Raquel Carrera, a licensed clinical professional counselor (LCPC) of Family Services, Road to Change Counseling and Consult in Washington, had emphasized that amendments to the existing medical practices are the need of the hour. She also recommended that initiatives like follow-up with patients by email or text, introduction of a strong structure for missed sessions, continuous communication with the patient’s family, etc. should be introduced and encouraged, as these could prove critical to the patient’s rehabilitation and recovery.

Essential to spread awareness about schizophrenia

Although early intervention programs have been considered pivotal for management of noncommunicable diseases like cancer and cardiovascular diseases for decades, such advancements in the field of mental health have been drastically lagging behind. New research efforts of the likes of the Correll group are not only necessary but also critical to developing holistic and long-term early intervention strategies for mental illnesses like schizophrenia.

If you or a loved one is diagnosed with schizophrenia or has been experiencing symptoms similar to that of schizophrenia, including hallucinations and delusions, contact the Sovereign Health. Our state-of-the-art treatment centers for schizophrenia are the best in the country. Call us at our 24/7 helpline number 866-973-7164 or chat online with our treatment advisors for details about schizophrenia treatment centers offering evidence-based treatment options.

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