A Developmental Perspective on Identifying Risk for Psychosis and Strategies for Prevention and Early Intervention

  • Judge Baker Children's Center 53 Parker Hill Ave Boston, MA, 02120 United States

Presenter: Larry J. Seidman, PhD

The idea of early intervention and prevention for psychotic disorders, has taken hold in the past two decades. This development likely reflects the current zeitgeist in which similar trends in early interventions for adult medical disorders like diabetes or cardiovascular disease, and a focus on brain plasticity and healthy aging are dominant. The idea that it might be possible to prevent neurodevelopmental disorders like schizophrenia has galvanized the field. The characterization of a putative prodrome to psychosis, typically called the clinical (or “ultra”) high risk (CHR) state, consisting primarily of attenuated positive symptoms, has provided a window for early, pre-emptive, interventions that have had substantial success. Paradoxically, this symptom picture, usually occurring in teenage years or young adulthood, has become recognized as a late stage in the development of psychotic disorders, with a number of earlier stages signaling that the full psychotic manifestations of the disorder could be predicted and perhaps prevented. The promising results from CHR studies give rise to the even more challenging notion, that earlier, pre-teenage interventions might be possible to alter the developmental pathway to schizophrenia. This talk will explore a strategy for earlier interventions that treat the problems that “at risk” children have. 

For more information visit the Child Mental Health Forum