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Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2005;7(1):39-49.

Treating early psychosis: who, what, and when?

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  • 1The Zucker Hillside Hospital, North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, Lake Success, NY, USA.


Early intervention and prevention in schizophrenia is just over 10 years old. The assumption guiding this field is that intervention is likely to be most effective if it begins before psychosis sets in, ie, during the prodromal phase. Although a substantial number of prodromal treatment programs have been initiated around the world, three early programs have generated most of the intervention findings to date: Personal Assessment and Crisis Evaluation (PACE) in Australia, and the Prevention through Risk Identification, Management, and Education (PRIME) and Recognition and Prevention (RAP) programs in the USA. The data suggest that early intervention leads to a reduction in prodromal symptoms and clinical distress. However, prevention of psychosis remains an unresolved question. Other issues include defining who should be treated, with what, and when. In addition, treatment targets associated with functional disability, such as early prodromal negative symptoms and risk factors, continue to emerge. Newly identified targets, in turn, suggest the need for a variety of novel interventions and treatment strategies.

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