Table of Contents
Advances in Psychiatry
Volume 2014, Article ID 365283, 16 pages
Review Article

Early Detection and Treatment of Psychosis: The Bern Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Perspective

University Hospital of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University of Bern, Bolligenstrasse 111, Haus A, 3000 Bern 60, Switzerland

Received 26 June 2014; Revised 25 August 2014; Accepted 28 August 2014; Published 9 September 2014

Academic Editor: Jane E. Boydell

Copyright © 2014 Frauke Schultze-Lutter and Benno G. Schimmelmann. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Commonly conceptualized as neurodevelopmental disorders of yet poorly understood aetiology, schizophrenia and other nonorganic psychoses remain one of the most debilitating illnesses with often poor outcome despite all progress in treatment of the manifest disorder. Drawing on the frequent poor outcome of psychosis and its association with the frequently extended periods of untreated first-episode psychosis (FEP) including its prodrome, an early detection and treatment of both the FEP and the preceding at-risk mental state (ARMS) have been increasingly studied. Thereby both approaches are confronted with different problems, for example, treatment engagement in FEP and predictive accuracy in ARMS. They share, however, the problems related to the lack of understanding of developmental, that is, age-related, peculiarities and of the presentation and natural course of their cardinal symptoms in the community. Most research on early detection and intervention in FEP and ARMS is still related to clinical psychiatric samples, and little is known about symptom presentation and burden and help-seeking in the general population related to these experiences. Furthermore, in particular in the early detection of an ARMS, studies often address adolescents and young adults alike without consideration of developmental characteristics, thereby applying risk criteria that have been developed predominately in adults. Combining our earlier experiences described in this paper in child and adolescent, and general psychiatry as well as in both lines of research, that is, on early psychosis and its treatment and on the early detection of psychosis, in particular in its very early states by subjective disturbances in terms of basic symptoms, age-related developmental and epidemiological aspects have therefore been made the focus of our current studies in Bern, thus making our line of research unique.