Patients With First-Episode Psychosis are Not a Homogeneous Population: Implications for Treatment
Angelo Cocchi 1, *, Giorgio Cerati 2, Antonio Lora 3, Anna Meneghelli 1, Emiliano Monzani 1, Mauro Percudani 4, Lorenzo Petrovich 5, Fiorino Mirabella 6, Angelo Picardi 6, Antonio Preti 1
Identifiers and Pagination:Year: 2014
First Page: 1
Last Page: 8
Publisher ID: CPEMH-10-1
Article History:Received Date: 19/10/2013
Revision Received Date: 20/1/2014
Acceptance Date: 22/1/2014
Electronic publication date: 7 /2/2014
Collection year: 2014
open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/) which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.
Objective: This study aimed at defining the characteristics of a population of patients diagnosed with first-episode psychosis (FEP), and accessing for the first time a center for early intervention in psychosis in the health district of Milan and its surroundings. Methods: Patients were included in the study from January 2007 to December 2008; criteria: first contact with any public mental health service of the catchment area for a first episode of schizophrenia or related syndromes according to the ICD-10 criteria. Cluster analysis was used to divide patients into groups based on the main socio-demographic and clinical characteristics at presentation. Results: Overall, 91 FEP patients were enrolled in the study. Two clusters were identified, which differed principally by symptom profile. Patients in cluster 1 (n=36) had severe agitation, and a history of alcohol and/or substance abuse at presentation more often than those in cluster 2 (n=55), who were more likely to suffer at presentation from severe depression or apathy, anxiety, poor self-care, functional or work impairment and severe social withdrawal. After six months of treatment patients improved on almost all symptomatic dimensions on the Health of the Nation Outcome Scale and the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale, with greater improvement in cluster 1 than in cluster 2. Conclusions: The findings of this study need replication in larger samples and on a wider severity scale. Nevertheless, the heterogeneity of patients with FEP might impact on treatment. Policymakers should recognize the importance of the diagnostic and outcome assessment in the treatment of severe mental disorders.