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Psychosis: Looking at recent research

02 June 2022
Volume 3 · Issue 3


Psychosis is a serious but complex and heterogeneous condition. Stephanie Thornton discusses recent research, including the staging system and early intervention.

Psychosis is possibly the most serious and debilitating of all clinical psychiatric disorders. This is a complex, heterogeneous condition. There are still many unanswered questions, including the aetiology of psychosis, the challenge of predicting who will and who won't develop psychosis, and the best means of intervention to reduce risk. What progress has research made, over the last few years?

We have long believed that having a first-degree relative (such as a parent or sibling) with psychosis raises an individual's risk of a similar diagnosis. However, the role of genes in triggering psychosis is presently controversial. On the one hand, complex genetic patterns that might mediate psychoses have been identified (Owen et al, 2007; DeRosse et al, 2012). On the other hand, surveys of research suggest that genetics are at best weak predictors of psychosis (Fusar-Poli et al, 2016; Catalan et al, 2021). Genetic and environmental factors may not be entirely independent, which complicates the debate. What is clear is that many with a family background of psychosis do not themselves develop the disorder, and that there are strong environmental factors shaping who does and who doesn't.

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