NAMHC Concept Clearance •
John K. Hsiao, M.D.
Chief, Adult Psychopharmacology Program
Adult Treatment and Preventive Interventions Research Branch
Division of Services and Interventions Research
The goal of this initiative is to improve prognosis and long-term outcome for people suffering from schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia continues to devastate the lives of young adults and their families. Significant impairment of social and vocational function is the norm in chronic schizophrenia, and while antipsychotic drugs remain effective, they are not able to restore skills and abilities lost to the illness. A person experiencing an initial psychotic episode usually responds well to antipsychotics, and unlike chronically ill patients, may recover completely from that first episode. The important unanswered question is whether function could be preserved and disability forestalled after an initial schizophrenic episode by intense and sustained pharmacological, psychosocial, and rehabilitative intervention. This initiative will be a crucial first step towards answering this question. A single project will be supported to: 1) test the feasibility of recruiting and retaining newly diagnosed patients in a longitudinal trial; 2) develop the treatment model — a mix of pharmacological, psychological, and rehabilitative interventions — that is most likely to preserve function and maintain patient participation; and 3) determine the nature of the control intervention. This initiative will set the stage for a large scale, definitive, randomized clinical trial.