Management of early-onset psychosis

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Early-onset psychosis is a rare but devastating condition. This review examines the evidence on the management of early-onset schizophrenia.

Recent findings

Schizophrenia has a worse prognosis when the onset is early. New scanning evidence suggests that structural brain changes are more profound if the illness strikes before adolescence. Genetic studies point to a higher rate of schizophrenic-spectrum disorders among the relatives of very early-onset cases. So far there has been little systematic research on the treatment of young people with schizophrenia. Extrapolating from the adult evidence there is intense interest in early intervention, including preventing the transition to psychosis by intervening with ‘very high-risk’ individuals.

Summary

It is important for clinicians dealing with children and adolescents to be familiar with the management of early-onset schizophrenia. Study of the early-onset form of schizophrenia provides valuable insights for everyone interested in the condition.

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