Untreated schizophrenia may spare brain.Schizophrenia's characteristic symptoms, such as confused thinking, disrupted emotions, and social withdrawal, wreak havoc on many people. This severe mental disorder mental disorder
Any illness with a psychological origin, manifested either in symptoms of emotional distress or in abnormal behaviour. Most mental disorders can be broadly classified as either psychoses or neuroses (see neurosis; psychosis). Psychoses (e.g. usually first appears in young adults, abruptly derailing their lives and those of their families. Moreover, it typically takes 1 to 2 years to get mental-health treatment after schizophrenia's emergence.
There's a bit of encouraging news, though. Contrary to the suspicions of some researchers, treatment delays for schizophrenia don't foster brain damage that intensifies symptoms and renders antipsychotic medications less effective, according to two studies in the November AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PSYCHIATRY The American Journal of Psychiatry (AJP) is the most widely read psychiatric journal in the world. It covers topics on biological psychiatry, treatment innovations, forensic, ethical, economic, and social issues. .
Still, those young people who receive appropriate treatment within a few months of developing schizophrenia stand the best chance of recovering, comments psychiatrist Jeffrey A. Lieberman of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine The University of North Carolina School of Medicine is a professional school within the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It offers a Doctor of Medicine degree along with combined Doctor of Medicine / Doctor of Philosophy or Doctor of Medicine / Master of Public Health at Chapel Hill.
"Apart from the frightening prospect of permanent brain damage, there are other compelling reasons for making the early detection and treatment of psychosis a public health priority--first and foremost, the fact that untreated psychosis damages lives," Lieberman and Wayne S. Fenton of the National Institute of Mental Health The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is part of the federal government of the United States and the largest research organization in the world specializing in mental illness. in Bethesda, Md., remark in a commentary in the same journal.
Both new investigations examine young adults who were hospitalized and given initial antipsychotic medication at various points after they developed their first schizophrenia symptoms.
In the first study, a research team led by psychologist Anne L. Hoff of the State University of New York (body) State University of New York - (SUNY) The public university system of New York State, USA, with campuses throughout the state. at Stony Brook interviewed 50 patients hospitalized after a first episode of schizophrenia or a related psychotic disorder Psychotic disorder
A mental disorder characterized by delusions, hallucinations, or other symptoms of lack of contact with reality. The schizophrenias are psychotic disorders. . Experimenters also interviewed a close family member of each participant.
Interviews and previous medical records enabled the researchers to identify 35 volunteers who had endured 1 year or more of untreated psychosis.
Magnetic resonance imaging magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), noninvasive diagnostic technique that uses nuclear magnetic resonance to produce cross-sectional images of organs and other internal body structures. (MRI 1. (application) MRI - Magnetic Resonance Imaging.
2. MRI - Measurement Requirements and Interface. ) scans showed that, compared with 20 adults who had no psychiatric ailments, patients with psychotic disorders exhibit a lower brain volume and larger fluid-filled spaces in the brain. The patients also scored lower on tests of language, memory, concentration, and sensory perception.
However, these deficits weren't worse in patients who had experienced treatment delays of at least 1 year, the scientists say. Also, patients showed comparable responses to antipsychotic drugs, regardless of treatment delays.
The second study, directed by psychiatrist Dominic Fannon of the Institute of Psychiatry The Institute of Psychiatry (IOP) is a research institution dedicated to discovering what causes mental health problems and diseases of the brain. In addition, its aim is to help identify new treatments for them and ways to prevent them in the first place. in London, focused on 37 patients hospitalized after a first episode of schizophrenia or a related psychotic disorder and 25 adults with no psychiatric condition. Again, patients showed lower brain volume and larger fluid-filled spaces on MRI scans, with no differences between those who began treatment either a few months or more than 1,year after an initial period of psychosis.
A decisive test of the possibility that untreated schizophrenia causes brain damage needs to evaluate the same individuals before and after they develop schizophrenia, note Lieberman and Fenton. Many factors, including stigma about mental illness and lack of recognition of psychosis by the patient, contribute to treatment delays, they say.