First Episode Psychosis

Led by Professor Patrick McGorry, the First Episode program builds on earlier work at the Early Psychosis Prevention and Intervention Centre. It is focused on understanding the biological and psychosocial factors associated with the early symptoms and first experiences of psychosis and mania.

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The First Episode Psychosis program builds on earlier work at the Early Psychosis Prevention and Intervention Centre. It is focused on understanding the biological and psychosocial factors associated with the early symptoms and first experiences of psychosis and mania.

Psychotic illnesses often begin in adolescence and early adulthood just when young people are finishing their education, entering the workforce, and establishing themselves as independent adults. These illnesses can have serious repercussions. If psychosis is detected and treated early in young people who are at ultra-high risk, many problems can be prevented.

Our current projects include:

  • A cross-sectional study exploring the relationship amongst: childhood trauma, dissociation; post-traumatic stress disorder, and hallucinations and delusions in young people with early psychosis. This study is specifically investigating young people’s experience of childhood trauma, the content of post-traumatic intrusions and of hallucinations and delusions to explore current theories of childhood trauma and psychosis.
  • A qualitative study of the experience of taking anti-psychotic medication in young people and adults who have experienced childhood trauma and who have been diagnosed with psychotic disorders. We are particularly interested in this study in whether anti-psychotic medication impacts trauma symptoms such as post traumatic stress disorder and dissociation.
  • ENACT is a randomised controlled trial on the effectiveness of N-acetylcysteine in first episode psychosis.
  • Cohort studies examining environmental risk factors for psychotic disorders including migration and social deprivation
  • The STAGES study (Staged Targeted and Acceptability Guidelines in Early Psychosis): A randomised placebo controlled trial of intensive psychosocial treatment with or without anti-psychotic medication for first episode psychosis with low risk of harm or aggression.
  • PROSCAN (Personalised Prognostic Tools for Prodromal and Early Psychosis Management): Translating research into clinical practice