New research suggests that bipolar disorder and schizophrenia risk can be detected years before symptoms appear.
Specialized Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services were accessed by 50% of individuals who acquired these mental health disorders, according to a Health Research Board-funded study done by University College Dublin (CAMHS). The multinational study was directed by Professor Ian Kelleher from the UCD School of Medicine and collaborated with the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare. The findings were published in the journal World Psychiatry. The results, in Professor Kelleher’s opinion, suggest that earlier intervention and perhaps prevention may be possible (THL).
Schizophrenia and Bipolar disease
The doctor said, “Schizophrenia and bipolar disease typically present in early adulthood and may be quite detrimental to both the affected individuals and their families.
“Our data show that half of people with these illnesses sought care from CAMHS at some time in their childhood, typically years before developing schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, according to the researchers.
We know that developing specialised early intervention services within existing child and adolescent mental health services will be crucial to improving outcomes for those with serious mental illness, and these findings show the enormous opportunities to provide far earlier intervention, even while still in childhood.
Using unique patient IDs, the researchers were subsequently able to follow all of these individuals up to the age of 28 and identify those who later received a diagnosis of schizophrenia or bipolar illness.
They observed that 1.8% of those who had not attended CAMHS by the age of 28 were likely to have psychosis or bipolar disorder. However, the risk was 37% for those who were admitted to an inpatient adolescent CAMHS facility and 15% for those who had visited teenage outpatient CAMHS.
“This research highlights the capacity of electronic healthcare records to solve key questions surrounding human health and illness,” said Professor Mika Gissler, THL.
The study’s authors state that its findings “demonstrate how healthcare registry data may be utilised to better understand routes to significant mental illness, from infancy into adulthood, and to identify vital possibilities for early intervention.”
In order to completely avoid sickness, Professor Ian Kelleher emphasised the need of early intervention and said, “Ideally, we would like to be able to act even before the commencement of illness. We are aware that early intervention is essential to preventing some of these disorders’ severe side effects. These results suggest the possibility of acting far earlier than we now do, even infancy and adolescence, to prevent the formation of these serious mental illnesses.