Time delay in seeking treatment for first-episode schizophrenia: a retrospective study.

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Time delay in seeking treatment for first-episode schizophrenia: a retrospective study.

Early Interv Psychiatry. 2019 Oct 07;:e12879

Authors: Chen H, Wang T, Wang D, Gao X

Abstract
AIM: A longer duration of untreated psychosis (DUP) is associated with higher risk of relapse and a poorer overall prognosis. The study is designed to explore the duration of untreated schizophrenia and associated factors in Northwest China.
METHODS: A total of 7252 patients with first-episode schizophrenia registered from 1 January 2011 to 31 December 2018 in Yulin of China were included. The median delay time was estimated by Kaplan-Meier survival curve. Two-level mixed-effects survival model was used to calculate the hazard ratio and 95% confidence interval for factors associated with treatment delay. The outcome variable of interest was defined as 'receiving antipsychotic treatment'.
RESULTS: Up to 40.4% of patients with schizophrenia were illiterate and 78% were farmers and 75.6% were living under the national poverty line. The median treatment delay was 30 months (Interquartile range: 2-217). Older age at onset (age group 21-28, HR 1.3; 29-39, HR 1.3; 40 above, HR 1.4), female gender (HR 1.1), unmarried status(HR 1.1) and high educational level (primary, HR 1.4; Junior HR 1.8 and high school and above, HR 1.8) were found to be associated with lower risk of treatment delay. Widowed status (HR 0.6) was associated with an increased risk of treatment delay.
CONCLUSIONS: The median duration of untreated schizophrenia in this study was longer than findings reported in many prior studies. Early age of onset, male patients, widowed status and low education level were at high risk of treatment delay. Early detection, diagnosis and treatment of schizophrenia in northwest China should be strengthened.

PMID: 31591818 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]