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The Natural History of the Course and Outcome of Schizophrenia

  • Judith Allardyce
  • Jim van Os
Chapter

Abstract

Understanding a disease’s pathological trajectory, by describing its progression and course, from the time an individual is exposed to causal factors until recovery or death, is just as important as aetiological understandings, when considering strategies to deal with disease prevention and control (Bhopal 2002; Wynne 1988). The natural history describes the uninterrupted trajectory in an individual of the biological and symptom development of a disorder from the moment it is initiated by exposure to its risk factors. However, there is very little information regarding the natural history of schizophrenia. Why is this? First, throughout history psychotic symptoms (with associated disability), i.e. the manifest cases, have resulted in institutional care or other medical, religious or cultural interventions, which influence the longitudinal progression, and certainly from the 1950s the vast majority of individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia have received antipsychotic medication; therefore, our contemporary studies examining course are unlikely to reflect the true natural history.

Keywords

Psychotic Symptom Psychotic Disorder Psychotic Experience Genetic Liability Schizophreniform Disorder 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology, South Limburg Mental Health Research and Teaching NetworkEURON, Maastricht UniversityMaastrichtThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology, School of Mental Health and NeuroscienceMaastricht University Medical Centre, EURON, SEARCHMaastrichtThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Division of Psychological MedicineInstitute of PsychiatryLondonUK

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