Can early intervention influence the development of psychosis in adolescents? Researchers sought to find out through theEarlyDetection, Intervention, and Prevention of Psychosis Program.
William R. McFarlane, MD, of the Tufts University School of Medicine, and colleagues assigned 337 youths aged 12 to 25 years who were at risk of psychosis to one of two treatment groups based on severity of symptoms. Those with a clinically higher risk of having an early first episode of psychosis (CHR+EFEP; n=250) were assigned to receive Family-Aided Assertive Community Treatment (FACT), and those at clinically lower risk (CLR; n=87) were assigned to receive community care.
After two years, outcomes for positive symptoms were superior in the FACT groups vs. community care (CHR, P=0.003; EFEP, P<0.0001; 2 df, P<0.0001 for both), the researchers reported in Schizophrenia Bulletin.
FACT was superior for Global Assessment of Functioning scores (P=0.0007; P=0.024 for CHR and P=0.0002 for EFEP, vs. CLR) and improvement in participation in work and school (P=0.025). Rates of conversion (6.3% CHR vs 2.3% CLR) and first negative event (25% CHR vs 22% CLR) were low overall, and similar between the two groups.
“FACT is effective in improving positive, negative, disorganized and general symptoms, Global Assessment of Functioning, work and school participation and global outcome in youth at risk for, or experiencing very early, psychosis,” the researchers concluded.
The objective of the study is to test effectiveness of the Early Detection, Intervention, and Prevention of Psychosis Program in preventing the onset of severe psychosis and improving functioning in a national sample of at-risk youth.
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