Speech markers to predict and prevent recurrent episodes of psychosis: A narrative overview and emerging opportunities

Schizophr Res. 2024 Apr:266:205-215. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2024.02.036. Epub 2024 Feb 29.


Preventing relapse in schizophrenia improves long-term health outcomes. Repeated episodes of psychotic symptoms shape the trajectory of this illness and can be a detriment to functional recovery. Despite early intervention programs, high relapse rates persist, calling for alternative approaches in relapse prevention. Predicting imminent relapse at an individual level is critical for effective intervention. While clinical profiles are often used to foresee relapse, they lack the specificity and sensitivity needed for timely prediction. Here, we review the use of speech through Natural Language Processing (NLP) to predict a recurrent psychotic episode. Recent advancements in NLP of speech have shown the ability to detect linguistic markers related to thought disorder and other language disruptions within 2-4 weeks preceding a relapse. This approach has shown to be able to capture individual speech patterns, showing promise in its use as a prediction tool. We outline current developments in remote monitoring for psychotic relapses, discuss the challenges and limitations and present the speech-NLP based approach as an alternative to detect relapses with sufficient accuracy, construct validity and lead time to generate clinical actions towards prevention.

Keywords: Disorganization; Intervention; Linguistics; NLP; Natural language processing; Prediction; Relapse; Thought disorder; mHealth; schizophrenia.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease
  • Humans
  • Psychotic Disorders* / diagnosis
  • Psychotic Disorders* / prevention & control
  • Recurrence
  • Schizophrenia* / diagnosis
  • Secondary Prevention
  • Speech