Early intervention in schizophrenia: Current and future perspectives
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The last decade has witnessed an expanding interest in the concept of early intervention (El) in psychotic disorders, notably schizophrenia. This is supported by the well-established association between prolonged untreated illness duration and poor outcome, as well as some evidence of progressive neurobiological changes in the early course of schizophrenia, both in the prepsychotic and psychotic phases as evidenced by brain imaging studies in schizophrenia. Increasingly, mental health service systems around the world have been incorporating specialized El programs. Controlled effectiveness studies in recent years have yielded encouraging data. Several questions in regard to the timing, choice of interventions, and the populations most likely to benefit from Els still remain. More evidence-based data are needed to place the El models in schizophrenia on firm footing in order to effectively implement them in the resource-strapped community mental health service settings.
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