First-episode schizophrenia with long duration of untreated psychosis. Pathways to care

Br J Psychiatry Suppl. 1998;172(33):45-52.


Background: The early course of illness in first-episode schizophrenia was examined with special emphasis on the duration of untreated psychosis and pathways to care.

Method: The consecutively admitted individuals (n = 34) were assessed on premorbid functioning, duration of untreated psychosis, global functioning, symptoms and social network. To clarify the obstacles for receiving earlier treatment, 17 case histories with long duration of untreated psychosis were intensively studied.

Results: The duration of untreated psychosis was on average very long (130 weeks), the median value was 54 weeks. The long duration of untreated psychosis group (> 54 weeks) had greater deterioration in the premorbid phase, a weaker social network and were more withdrawn than the short duration of untreated psychosis group (< 54 weeks). The main obstacles for receiving treatment were withdrawal and poor social network.

Conclusions: In order to identify people earlier, a system of detection must be mobile, easily accessible and attentive to early symptoms of psychosis. It seems to be important to educate the social network related to the individual about the importance of early treatment.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Psychotic Disorders / psychology
  • Psychotic Disorders / therapy*
  • Schizophrenia / therapy*
  • Schizophrenic Psychology
  • Social Isolation
  • Social Support
  • Time Factors