Asking young patients at risk of psychosis to answer a few questions on a tablet before their appointment can help mental health professionals better identify them, researchers say.
- A questionnaire is used to identify young people at risk of psychosis.
- Young people at risk of psychosis are not always well identified clinically.
- Tablet screening doubles the number of young people at risk of psychosis.
Technologies are often of great help for research and health, and this new data is no exception. According to a study from UC Davis Health, a medical center in the United States, a simple 21-item questionnaire identified twice the number of young people with symptoms of psychosis – such as hallucinations or delusions – than a simple diagnosis clinical.
The questionnaire allows an early diagnosis of psychosis
“Adding a brief screening tool to the initial assessment can make a huge difference in clinical decision-making, helping you realize that a person needs specialist care.“, said Tara A. Niendam, first author of the study, professor and executive director of health programs at UC Davis Early Psychosis Programs.
This tool has been used in several mental health centers by young people between the ages of 12 and 30 before their visit with a specialist. Known as the PQ-B (Prodromal Questionnaire, Brief Version), the questionnaire included questions like: “Does your familiar environment sometimes seem strange, confusing, threatening or unreal? ?” And “Did you see things that other people can’t see or don’t seem to see? ?”.
If the questionnaire score was 20 or greater, the participant was offered a referral to an early psychosis clinic for further evaluation.
A questionnaire twice as effective as the clinical diagnosis
In all, the researchers evaluated data from 2,432 people in sites practicing active screening with the questionnaire and 2,455 people in sites practicing treatment as usual, without the questionnaire.
“Active screening sites reported a significantly higher detection rate of psychosis spectrum disorders, with 136 cases (5.6%), compared to 65 (2.6%) in sites that did not use the tablet screening”, say the authors.
The results of this study have highlighted a major problem since they underline how many young people at risk of psychosis are not identified with the current system in the United States. In Franceat least 15,000 new young people a year have a first psychotic episode, and they are not all supported.
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