[Early course of illness in first episode schizophrenia with long duration of untreated illness - a comparative study].Fortschr Neurol Psychiatr. 2004 Feb; 72(2):88-92.FN
When a long duration of untreated illness (DUI) is correlated with an unfavourable progression of schizophrenia in the same way as that of a long duration of untreated psychosis (DUP), the characteristics of patients with a long DUI are of particular interest for early recognition and early intervention programmes. With this background, demographic data and early symptoms were collected from 82 first time in-patients with schizophrenia using the IRAOS (Interview for the Retrospective Assessment of the Onset of Schizophrenia). In the total sample, the average DUI was almost 5.9 years. On the basis of the DUI median (5.2 yrs), the random sample was divided into two groups: one with long (n = 41) and one with short (n = 41) DUI. When comparing both groups in terms of socio-demographic data, no significant differences could be found (with the exception of age at first admission: 28 - 32 yrs). On a psychopathological level, patients with long DUI were prone to depressive moods, anxiety, compulsive symptoms and showed early signs of disturbances in bodily perception. An educational campaign should sensitize both employees working in primary care and experts who diagnose and treat psychological illnesses, to the fact that these symptoms could point to a prodrome even when the patient has passed the typical age of being at risk from schizophrenia.