The two main goals of early intervention in psychotic disorders are to reduce the period of time between the onset of psychosis and the commencement of effective treatment, and to provide consistent and comprehensive care during the critical early years of illness.
Effective care during the critical early years involves proactive engagement and initiation of drug and psychosocial treatments, aiming for maximal symptomatic and functional recovery and the prevention of relapse.
Over the past 15 years, an increasing number of specialised or streamed treatment delivery systems for early psychosis have been established around the world. There is now evidence that these services can reduce the duration of untreated psychosis and produce better symptomatic and functional recovery. In addition, they are more cost-effective than standard models of mental health care for these patients.
Fully fledged, specialised early intervention services should be established, with full integration with local communities, as well as enhanced primary care systems focused on young people.
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