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Research has shown that there is a often a significant delay between the time when a person becomes psychotic and the time when they get appropriate treatment. This delay leads to needless suffering of the individual and their family. And the longer this delay, the poorer the person’s chances of a good recovery. Research has shown that a long duration of untreated psychosis (DUP) is associated with poorer outcomes.

The next few years following a person’s first episode of psychosis is sometimes referred to the “critical period”. This period is critical as it is when the person is most at risk for the development of comorbidity, disability and suicide. Intensive and sustained treatment is needed at this time to prevent both secondary problems and relapses of psychosis. The best approach in treatment is one that is truly “biopsychosocial” and engages the person and their family as partners in care.

So early intervention for psychosis is much more than intervening early after the psychosis first develops. It is an entire approach to care – one that actively engages the person and their family in intensive and comprehensive treatment efforts.

In order to ensure best practices and consistency throughout British Columbia, EPI Standard and Guidelines and other best practices documents have been developed to support high quality comprehensive treatment of early psychosis. You will introduced to these documents within this module.


Module 1
Additional ReadingsChapters 1, 2 and pages 85-87 (in Chapter 8)
Activity OneMatching Exercise
Activity TwoStandards and Guidelines
Activity ThreeThought Questions
Completion of ModulesComplete Module I – Submitted Written Assignment


  • Understand the rationale for early intervention in psychosis
  • Know the signs and symptoms of early psychosis
  • Understand the distinction between terms used in early psychosis literature
  • Gain a basic knowledge of the etiology of psychosis
  • Understand the principles underlying early psychosis guidelines
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