Purpose: Individuals with psychotic disorders identify several parallel dimensions of recovery as being important, including illness related, personal and social domains. Learning how patients deal with the experience of psychosis and recovery early in the course of illness may provide insights for improvement of early intervention services. The primary aim of the present research is to explore experiences related to recovery for individuals receiving services following a first episode of psychosis (FEP) in a specialized early intervention (SEI) program and to examine key turning points that shape such recovery.
Methods: Semi-structured interviews were carried out with 30 individuals in early recovery following an FEP. Interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) was used to examine the subjectively identified important processes and turning points in relation to the illness domain of recovery.
Results: Participants described several early recovery processes including symptom recovery; reconciling the meaning of the illness experience; regaining control over the experience; and negotiation and acceptance of treatment. Of particular relevance were the various turning points associated with the recovery processes that were described.
Conclusions: Differences in illness acceptance trajectories and the turning points within such trajectories have important implications for understanding psychological adjustment to the experience of psychosis, its diagnosis and treatment. These findings underline the importance of assisting individuals with the construction of meaning following the initial illness experience.