Prodromal Symptoms of Relapse in a Sample of Egyptian Schizophrenic Patients
J Clin Psychiatry 2000;61:729-736
© Copyright 2014 Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc.
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Background: Schizophrenic patients and family
members often retrospectively report having observed a number of
nonpsychotic symptoms and/or certain alterations in behavior that
they believe preceded any psychotic symptoms and behavior. The
identification of possible relapse before its actual occurrence
and the timely intervention in management are expected to spare
both patient and family the suffering and pain of a full
schizophrenic episode. The aim of this study was to determine if
prodromal symptoms could be used as valid predictors of relapse
in schizophrenic disorders and the relative diagnostic values of
these symptoms in a sample of Egyptian schizophrenic patients.
Method: One hundred Egyptian patients with
schizophrenic disorders (DSM-III-R criteria) that had recently
relapsed were retrospectively assessed for prodromal symptoms in
the month preceding relapse. They were compared with 2 control
groups, 50 Egyptian nonrelapsing schizophrenic patients and 50
healthy Egyptian individuals.
Results: Nonpsychotic symptoms were the most
common prodromal symptoms occurring in relapsing patients. A
significant difference in frequency of prodromal symptoms was
found for relapsing patients versus nonrelapsing patients (p <
.001) and healthy controls (p < .05). Prodromal symptoms
appear to have a relatively specific value for predicting
subsequent psychotic symptoms in those subjects who previously
experienced such symptoms.
Conclusion: Clusters of nonspecific prodromal
symptoms exist that significantly differentiate between
relapsing, nonrelapsing, and healthy controls. Fine-tuning of the
identification of these symptoms could be a plausible clinical
tool to be used by psychiatrists and general practitioners alike
to predict a possibility of an impending relapse.