When the healthcare does not follow the evidence: The case of the lack of early intervention programs for psychosis in Spain

Rev Psiquiatr Salud Ment. Apr-Jun 2017;10(2):78-86. doi: 10.1016/j.rpsm.2017.01.001. Epub 2017 Feb 8.
[Article in En, Spanish]


There is now sufficient evidence to support the importance of interventions in the early stages of psychosis. The delay in the detection and treatment of the first-episode psychosis is related to a lower and slower recovery, as well as a higher risk of relapse. Despite this fact, early intervention units or teams are still not regularly implemented in mental health service settings in Spain. In this opinion article, a review is presented of the main arguments for defending the need to implement these programs and strategies in order to achieve this aim. There are a number of programs for early intervention for psychosis currently working in other countries, with a therapeutic program that includes pharmacological and psychosocial interventions, together with public awareness, information dissemination, and family-professional collaboration activities. Published literature on the experience of these programs indicates that early intervention is not only effective in terms of the improvement of health status, but is also economically efficient. The main steps and recommendations needed to implement such early intervention programs in our country are described.

Keywords: Duración de la psicosis no tratada; Duration of untreated psychosis; Early intervention; Esquizofrenia; First episode psychosis; Intervención temprana; Primer episodio psicótico; Psicosis; Psychosis; Schizophrenia.

MeSH terms

  • Early Medical Intervention / methods
  • Early Medical Intervention / organization & administration
  • Early Medical Intervention / supply & distribution*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Humans
  • Psychotic Disorders / diagnosis
  • Psychotic Disorders / therapy*
  • Recurrence
  • Schizophrenia / diagnosis
  • Schizophrenia / therapy*
  • Spain
  • Treatment Outcome