Early Psychosis has, in the recent 10 years or so, picked up a lot of publicity and rightfully so. After all, prevention is better than cure. Early Psychosis simply refers to the onset of psychotic symptoms, but not severe or significant enough that requires hospitalisation or necessarily medications. Some level of intervention is often required, especially education and learning to identify any progression of symptoms that may lead to eventual psychosis.
Early Psychosis usually also refers to the first episode of psychosis that a person experiences, from whatever cause (although the cause is often unclear). This means the person would have demonstrated a vulnerability to developing psychosis and if not managed well, this can eventually evolve to become schizophrenia.
It is often difficult, especially in adolescence, to determine what is normal vs abnormal. Often symptoms are prodromal – meaning they do not point to anything sinister in particular, and only on hindsight is it realised that the early warning signs were present. A comprehensive assessment, and longitudinal observation is often necessary to get an idea as to what is actually happening.
Sometimes treatment is required, and where necessary, medications prescribed. Psychosis is no small matter. Early intervention can prevent a lot of damage which is often wide-ranging and across many domains in life – social function, vocational function, relationships, studies etc. Early Psychosis intervention aims to arrest this progression, and preserve or restore normal function as much as possible.
The Shrink Company partners with Headspace and other healthcare providers to provide intervention for Early Psychosis. Where appropriate, referrals are made to one or more agencies or organisations depending on the individual needs. Families are often big stakeholders and are often (unintentionally) left out in the dark. In Early Psychosis, family involvement is absolutely important and necessary in the assessment phase and intervention phase. We welcome and encourage family involvement.