New research funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) shows that young people experiencing a first episode of psychosis have a mortality rate that is 24 times that of the general population during the first year after initial diagnosis. To investigate mortality in this population, the researchers used commercial insurance claims data (2008-9) to identify 5,488 individuals who received a first diagnosis of psychosis at ages 16–30. Social security data were used to identify deaths over the following 12 months (cause of death was not identifiable). Based on the insurance claims data, those individuals with a new diagnosis of psychosis received limited medical attention during the first year following diagnosis: only 39% filled antipsychotic medication prescriptions, while only 59% received psychotherapy. These data clearly highlight the importance of early and intensive intervention for individuals in the months immediately following a first diagnosis of psychosis.
Schoenbaum M et al. Schizophr Bull 2017.