Characteristics of early psychosis

P.F. Schothorst, C. Emck, H. van Engeland

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There is little research on characteristics related to course and prognosis of early-onset psychosis. The present article aims to advance our knowledge of this disorder for the purpose of proper diagnosis and treatment. It focuses on premorbid and prodromal characteristics, treatment history, symptoms and classifications, and differences between subgroups with affective and schizophrenic psychosis. A chart review was constructed to study a group of 129 subjects (12-18 years) with psychotic symptoms referred to the University Medical Center in Utrecht. The group was characterized by early-but nonspecific-treatment, developmental problems (mostly social), and clear prodromal symptoms. Drug abuse, depressive symptoms, and suicidal behavior were also frequent. Male sex, a relatively long prodromal phase, school problems, and drug abuse were more indicative of the schizophrenic subgroup. Introversion was characteristic for boys with schizophrenia. Classifications, however, were not stable. These findings suggest that early recognition of psychosis can be enhanced in health and youth care facilities. Careful examination of the prodromal phase seems helpful to differentiate between schizophrenic and affective psychosis. © 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)438-42
JournalComprehensive Psychiatry
Publication statusPublished - 2006


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