AIMS: The present study examined if any patient characteristics at baseline predicted depressive symptoms at 10 years and whether patients prone to depressive symptoms in the first year of treatment had a different prognosis in the following years. METHOD: A total of 299 first-episode psychosis (FEP) patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders were assessed for depressive symptoms with PANSS depression item (g6) at baseline, and 1, 2, 5 and 10 years of follow up. At 10 years, depressive symptoms were also assessed with Calgary Depression Scale for Schizophrenia (CDSS). A PANSS g6 ≥ 4 and CDSS score ≥ 6 were used as a cut-off score for depression. RESULTS: A total of 122 (41%) patients were scored as depressed at baseline, 75 (28%) at 1 year, 50 (20%) at 2 years, 33 (16%) at 5 years, and 35 (19%) at 10 years of follow up. Poor childhood social functioning and alcohol use at baseline predicted depression at 10 years of follow up. Thirty-eight patients were depressed at both baseline and 1 year follow up. This group had poorer symptomatic and functional outcome in the follow-up period compared to a group of patients with no depression in the first year of treatment. CONCLUSION: Depressive symptoms are frequent among FEP patients at baseline but decrease after treatment because their general symptoms have been initiated. Patients with poor social functioning in childhood and alcohol use at baseline are more prone to have depressive symptoms at 10 years of follow up. Patients struggling with depressive symptoms in the first year of treatment should be identified as having poorer long-term prognosis.
Early Intervention in Psychiatry, 2016, Vol 10, Issue 3