Psychotic conditions affect 120,000

  • Deborah Condon

Schizophrenia and other psychotic conditions affect around 120,000 people in Ireland, however early detection and treatment can lead to fewer hospital admissions and much better recovery rates, a new report has found.

Psychosis is a mental disorder characterised by a loss of contact with reality. Psychotic symptoms can include hallucinations, delusions and severe thought disturbances.

According to a report into the work of the DETECT (Dublin and East Treatment and Early Care Team) service, people affected by psychotic conditions have very complex needs and almost four in 10 also have substance misuse problems, most commonly with alcohol and/or cannabis. However early intervention can and does work.

"DETECT was originally set up in 2006 as a pilot programme to see if early intervention was feasible in Ireland. It was funded by the Hospitaller Order of St John of God and the HSE. It was evident from the start that early intervention made sense and more importantly that it worked," explained project co-ordinator, Niall Turner.

DETECT is specifically aimed at people experiencing a first episode of psychosis who live in the eastern region of south Dublin and east Wicklow.

Mr Turner insisted that there are 'many benefits' to such a service.

"Treating psychosis early can prevent admission to hospital. Most importantly for the individual, access to an early intervention service provides better recovery outcomes. This report has found that one year after treatment, 60% of individuals who have experienced psychotic symptoms are working and participating fully in society," he noted.

He pointed out that from a policy perspective, such a service also promotes community based service provision, 'which is the cornerstone of the government's policy on mental health, A Vision for Change'.

Mr Turner also noted that early intervention can save money.

"International studies have shown that early intervention services are more economical than traditional mental health services," he commented.

Meanwhile, the report also showed that:

-Most GPs find the DETECT service extremely or very useful

-Over one in three people who have presented to the service have been treated successfully in the community.

For more information on the service, click here


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