Preventing relapse in first episode psychosis

Managing and minimising the impact of relapse is an important component of treatment in first episode psychosis (FEP). Between 55–70% of people with FEP will experience a psychotic relapse within two years of remission of their initial episode. With each relapse, recovery becomes difficult and prolonged for the young person, and the risk of chronic or persistent symptoms increases. Relapse can interfere with a young person’s social and vocational development, can negatively affect their long-term outcomes, can also have a significant adverse effect on self-esteem and may increase self-stigma. Furthermore, analyses have indicated treatment for relapses in psychosis costs four times more than care for individuals that do not relapse.

This clinical practice point is designed to help clinicians understand:

  • Relapse and the risk factors for relapse

  • The effects of relapse

  • Strategies used to manage and minimise the risk of relapse.


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