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Can J Psychiatry. 1997 Feb;42(1):34-43.

The varied outcomes of schizophrenia.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06519, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To review variations in outcomes in schizophrenia across individual, historical, and cross-cultural boundaries, as well as within specific domains of functioning.

METHOD:

Research literature on the outcomes of schizophrenia appearing within the last 8 years was reviewed.

RESULTS:

First, a review of follow-up studies published in the developed world suggests that heterogeneity in outcome across individuals with schizophrenia remains the rule, with affective symptoms, later and acute onset, and responsiveness to biological treatments predictive of good outcome. Negative symptoms are associated with poor outcome, cognitive impairments, and incapacity in social and work domains. Deterioration appears to occur within the first few months of onset if not already in the prodrome, with recent early-course studies finding longer duration of untreated psychosis associated with insidious onset, negative symptoms, social and work incapacity, and poor outcome. Second, a review of recent cross-cultural and historical studies provides evidence that outcome varies across time and place, schizophrenia having a more favourable outcome in the developing world and becoming a more benign disorder over the course of this century. Third, a review of studies of the domains of functioning within individuals identifies 4 relatively independent dimensions of depression and negative, psychotic, and disorganized symptoms. Cognitive deficits, which are associated with negative symptoms, also constitute a relatively stable dimension over time, showing neither marked deterioration nor improvement once established early in the course of disorder.

CONCLUSIONS:

The early appearance and stability over time of negative symptoms and cognitive impairments call for assertive intervention efforts early in the course of disorder to prevent chronicity and prolonged disability.

PMID:
9040921
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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