Why Early Psychosis

The umbrella term ''early psychosis'' has been preferred to a narrower focus such as ''first episode schizophrenia'', both for clinical and research purposes, for several reasons [7]. First, it enables the prodromal period, the first episode of psychosis and the so-called ''critical period'' [8] of the early years post-diagnosis to be included in the management focus. Second, it allows for diagnostic flux and evolution to be handled [9]. Third, the clinical needs of patients with early psychosis, and their families, are very similar irrespective of diagnostic subtype. Finally, the negative prognostic expectations associated with a diagnosis of schizophrenia can be minimized by using a more prognostically neutral umbrella term for the clinical programme. The term schizophrenia still is used as a second-line statement, but is explained as no more than a descriptive syndrome, and as a diagnosis rather than a prognosis. This approach works well clinically and for a variety of research purposes.

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