The pernicious course of schizophrenia has spurred efforts to identify and effectively treat this condition as early as possible. This assertive therapeutic stance is supported by epidemiologic data suggesting a substantial time lag between onset of illness and therapeutic intervention, and by neurobiologic data suggesting that brain changes present in first-episode psychosis are comparable to those in chronic schizophrenia. The proposal that atypical antipsychotic medications may prevent illness deterioration and/or be a restorative intervention is an appealing, but as yet unproven, hypothesis. Major challenges to maximizing treatment outcomes in first-episode schizophrenia include optimizing timing and effectiveness of pharmacologic interventions, service coordination, and access to care. We present data on the onset and presentation of first-episode schizophrenia and emerging findings about the neurobiology of first episodes, review nonpharmacologic and pharmacologic management, and summarize clinical research data on use of atypical antipsychotics in first-episode patients.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||15|
|State||Published - Sep 2006|
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