Early intervention services have the potential to improve the success of treatment and social functioning for individuals with schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a heterogenous, progressive and recurrent disease with multiple dimensions which can impact the overall course of the disease as well as response to treatment.  

Schizophrenia is characterized by multiple relapses, and following a relapse patients may not return to their previous level of function which can affect both the short and long-term prognosis for patients living with the disease.

The specific benefits of early intervention are well-documented, both for the patient and broader society. These include:

  • Higher recovery rate at 1/3 of the cost of standard public mental health services1-2
  • Financial savings - of approximately €25,000 over a five-year period3
  • Improved treatment success rate - including hospital bed days4 and decreased relapse rates5
  • Improvement in social functioning6-7 and in the quality of life of people living with schizophrenia and their carers5
  • Improvement in employment for people with schizophrenia - in some cases employment participation has been continuous for more than ten years8
  • Decrease of premature mortality rates9
  1. ICF and Cambridge Economics. Study on the costs and benefits of possible EU measures to facilitate work-life balance for parents and care givers. Brussels: European Commission. 2017. Available: file:///C:/Users/anna.reilly/Downloads/Final%20report%20CBA%20WLB%20measures_20042017.pdf. Last accessed February 2018.
  2. Winkler P, et al. Long-term hospitalizations for schizophrenia in the Czech Republic 1998–2012. Schizophrenia Res 2016;175;180–185.
  3. McDaid D, et al. Growth in the use of early intervention for psychosis services: An opportunity to promote recovery amid concerns on health care sustainability. 2016. Available at: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/65630/1/__lse.ac.uk_storage_LIBRARY_Secondary_libfile_shared_repository_Content_PSSRU_Growth%20in%20the%20use%20of%20early%20intervention_2016.pdf [Date accessed: June 2018]
  4.  Andrew A, et al. Effective Interventions in schizophrenia: the economic case. Personal Social Services Research Unit, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, 2012. http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/47406/7/__libfile_repository_Content_Knapp,%20M_Effective%20Interventions%20in%20schizophrenia%20the%20economic%20case_Effective%20Interventions%20in%20schizophrenia%20(LSERO).pdf [Accessed: May 2018]
  5. Craig TKJ, et al. The Lambeth Early Onset (LEO) Team: Randomised controlled trial of the effectiveness of specialised care for early psychosis. BMJ 329(7474):1067. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.38246.594873.7C
  6. Hasan A, et al. World Federation of Societies of Biological Psychiatry (WFSBP) guidelines for biological treatment of schizophrenia, part 2: update 2012 on the long-term treatment of schizophrenia and management of antipsychotic-induced side effects. World J Biol Psychiatry 2013;14(1):2‒44
  7. Dieterich M, et al. Intensive case management for severe mental illness. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2010;10:CD007906. https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858. CD007906.pub2
  8. Ten Velden HW, et al. Early detection, early symptom progression and symptomatic remission after ten years in a first episode of psychosis study. Schizophrenia Res 2013;143(2–3):337–343. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.schres.2012.10.027
  9. European Brain Council. Early Intervention: Bridging the early diagnosis and treatment gap. 2017. Available at: http://www.braincouncil.eu/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/EBC_white_policy_paper_DEF26072017_Low.pdf. [Date accessed: June 2018]


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