Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

BACKGROUND: We examined the course of illness over a 12-month period in a large, international multi-center cohort of people with a first-episode schizophrenia spectrum disorder (FES) in a naturalistic, prospective study (PSYSCAN). METHOD: Patients with a first episode of schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder (depressive type) or schizophreniform disorder were recruited at 16 institutions in Europe, Israel and Australia. Participants (N = 304) received clinical treatment as usual throughout the study. RESULTS: The mean age of the cohort was 24.3 years (SD = 5.6), and 67 % were male. At baseline, participants presented with a range of intensities of psychotic symptoms, 80 % were taking antipsychotic medication, 68 % were receiving psychological treatment, with 46.5 % in symptomatic remission. The mean duration of untreated psychosis was 6.2 months (SD = 17.0). After one year, 67 % were in symptomatic remission and 61 % were in functional remission, but 31 % had been readmitted to hospital at some time after baseline. In the cohort as a whole, depressive symptoms remained stable over the follow-up period. In patients with a current depressive episode at baseline, depressive symptoms slightly improved. Alcohol, tobacco and cannabis were the most commonly used substances, with daily users of cannabis ranging between 9 and 11 % throughout the follow-up period. CONCLUSIONS: This study provides valuable insight into the early course of a broad range of clinical and functional aspects of illness in FES patients in routine clinical practice.

Original publication




Journal article


Schizophr Res

Publication Date





237 - 248


First episode psychosis, Functioning, Longitudinal study, PSYSCAN, Remission, Schizophrenia