Antipsychotics help people through the crisis of acute psychosis, but the long-term management of chronic mental illness is another matter. It appears that what we currently call “schizophrenia” may comprise disorders with quite different trajectories. For some people, remaining on medication long-term might impede a full return to wellness. For others, discontinuing medication can be disastrous.
Results of the two largest studies of their kind, to date, have identified new common gene variants associated with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. The results implicate specific pathways and hold promise for development of new treatments.
NIMH is working to better define the boundaries of pediatric bipolar disorder, discover its causes and develop more effective treatments for such mood related syndromes affecting youth. Cross-cutting comparisons of mania-related and other forms of irritability and functional brain imaging studies will help to disentangle these syndromes so that clinicians can provide children with the best care. Our goal is nothing less than pre-emtive interventions and cures.