BACKGROUND: Recovery, the optimal goal in treatment, is the attainment of both symptomatic and functional remission over a sustained period of time. Identification of factors that promote recovery can help develop interventions that facilitate good outcomes for people with first episode psychosis.
AIM: To examine long-term outcomes within a cohort of people with first episode psychosis in relation to symptom remission, functioning and recovery, 10 years after diagnosis.
METHOD: The study had a prospective design. Participants from the OPUS trial (1998-2000) (n=496) completed a series of interviews and questionnaires to measure current levels of psychopathology and social/vocational functioning, ten years after diagnosis. Predictors of recovery were identified using socio-demographic and clinical characteristics collected at baseline.
RESULTS: A total of 304 participants were interviewed, giving a follow-up rate of 61%. A total of 42 people (14%) met the criteria for symptomatic and psychosocial recovery at 10 years. A multivariable binary logistic regression analysis indicated that baseline predictors accounted for 22% of the variance of full recovery. Lower severity of negative symptoms at baseline (Odds Ratio (OR) 0.53, 95% confidence interval CI 0.36-0.78, p<0.001) and earlier age of diagnosis (OR 0.92, 95% CI 0.86-0.99, p<0.05) predicted better rates of recovery at 10 years.
CONCLUSION: Results of this study indicated that negative symptoms could play a central role in the process of recovery from schizophrenia. A challenge for clinicians and researchers is to understand the mechanisms behind negative symptoms and develop interventions that can prevent or ameliorate these symptoms in order to promote recovery.