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Can Schizophrenia Be Stopped? - Olga Khazan - The Atlantic

Can Schizophrenia Be Stopped Olga Khazan The Atlantic

By intervening right after patients have a break from reality, an NIMH project hopes to offer people with severe mental illnesses a chance at recovery.


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When treated soon after their first sign of psychosis, individuals are more likely to avoid relapse and hospitalization, studies from Europe and elsewhere have shown.

According to Aviv’s research, there are only about 60 existing clinics that focus on early psychosis intervention, and only about a third focus on the prodrome stage, the time when patients first start to imagine things but before they start to believe that their false beliefs are real.

The NIMH project, called Recovery After an Initial Schizophrenia Episode, or “RAISE,” provides these at-risk individuals with medication at a much lower dose than would be standard for people in the later stages of the disease, along with job and education assistance, and information about their ailment for their families.

“We add in elements of treatment that seem to make sense given their personal goals and ambitions,” Heinssen said. “And if they feel like they're making steps over time, we can retract some of the treatment elements so that it doesn't become a life-time commitment.”

Slow and steady wins the race.

Early intervention makes sure you're in the race.

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