The Earliest Psychotic Symptoms

In the ABC Schizophrenia Study [18], the earliest positive symptom, delusions, appeared on average 14.3 months, the first hallucination 8.7 months and the first formal thought disorder 8.2 months before first admission. This result provides no evidence for the hypothesis that delusions are an expression of cognitive coping with the distressing experience of hallucinations. The cumulative prevalence of delusions in the early course was 96%, that of auditory hallucinations 69% and that of thought disorder 62%. The fact that their prevalence approaches 100% reflects the role of positive symptoms as the leading diagnostic criteria for schizophrenia and, hence, also the type of patients included in or excluded from study samples of schizophrenia.

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