Despite advances in the treatment of schizophrenia over the past half-century, the illness is frequently associated with a poor outcome. This is principally related to the late identification and intervention in the course of the illness by which time patients have experienced a substantial amount of socio-occupational decline that can be difficult to reverse. The emphasis has therefore shifted to defining psychosis-risk syndromes and evaluating treatments that can prevent transition to psychosis in these ultra-high risk groups. To consider the appropriateness of adding psychosis risk syndrome to our diagnostic nomenclature, the psychotic disorders work group extensively reviewed all available data, consulted a range of experts, and carefully considered the variety of expert and public comments on the topic. It was clear that reliable methods were available to define a syndrome characterized by sub-threshold psychotic symptoms (in severity or duration) and which was associated with a very significant increase in the risk of development of a full-fledged psychotic disorder (schizophrenia spectrum, psychotic mood disorder, and other psychotic disorders) within the next year. At the same time, the majority of individuals with "attenuated psychotic symptoms" had one or more other current psychiatric comorbid conditions (usually mood or anxiety disorders, substance use disorder; Fusar-Poli 2012) and exhibited a range of psychiatric outcomes other than conversion to psychosis (significant proportions either fully recover or develop some other psychiatric disorder, with a minority developing a psychotic disorder). Although the reliability of the diagnosis is well established in academic and research settings, it was found to be less so in community and other clinical settings. Furthermore, the nosological relationship of attenuated psychosis syndrome (APS) to schizotypal personality disorder and other psychiatric conditions was unclear. Further study will hopefully resolve these questions. The work group decided to recommend the inclusion of attenuated psychosis syndrome as a category in the appendix (Section 3) of DSM-5 as a condition for further study.
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