• Vol. 35 No. 1, 24–26
  • 15 January 2006

Clinical and Social Correlates of Duration of Untreated Psychosis in First-episode Psychosis Patients

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ABSTRACT

Introduction: This study aims to examine the socio-demographic and clinical correlates of the duration of untreated psychosis (DUP) in first-episode psychosis patients in an Asian country.

Materials and Methods: Three hundred thirty-four patients from the Early Psychosis Intervention Programme (EPIP) of Singapore were recruited for the study. Socio-demographic data were collected and patients were diagnosed using SCID I (Structural Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis I Disorders). Other assessment scales were used to assess the level of psychopathology, overall functioning and the awareness of mental illness.

Results: Mean (SD) DUP was 16.3 (31.5) months. Patients who were single, unemployed, or brought by the police had a significantly longer DUP. Patients with a diagnosis of schizophrenia had a longer DUP as compared to patients with other forms of psychosis. The better functioning patients as indicated by a higher Global Assessment of Functioning score and those who were more insightful had a shorter DUP.

Conclusions: This study suggests that certain socio-demographic features and clinical diagnosis may determine DUP.


First-episode studies of schizophrenia have reported that the longer the duration of untreated psychosis (DUP), the poorer the response to antipsychotic medication and treatment outcome. The findings of these studies have led to the assertion that by reducing DUP, treatment outcome for schizophrenia and other related psychosis might be improved substantially; hence, the need for early recognition and intervention in first-episode psychosis has become increasingly important.

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