Review of international early psychosis programmes and a model to overcome unique challenges to the treatment of early psychosis in the United States




This article presents a literature review of treatments for first-episode psychosis throughout the world and describes the POTENTIAL (Patient-Oriented Treatment for Early or New onset schizophrenia To Initiate A Long-term recovery) Early Psychosis Programme in detail, explaining the model and the rationale, as well as the uniqueness of the programme.


An international search was conducted for English articles using PubMed, PsycINFO and PsycARTICLES, as well as the reference lists of published studies and reviews. One article that is currently in press was included, which was not part of the original literature search. Inclusion criteria included any published or in press study focused upon treatment programmes for early psychosis. Out of the 62 articles collected, 27 publications met this criterion and were utilized. In addition to identifying clinical programmes, gaps in treatment for this population were identified.


The primary method in the United States for the treatment of early psychosis is randomized trial for new pharmacological treatments where patients are research subjects. Although there are a multitude of both research and clinical programmes internationally, the few programmes that exist in the United States that focus upon first-episode psychosis are either research based or focus upon prodromal symptoms. Clinical programmes such as the POTENTIAL programme are nearly non-existent.


Although the POTENTIAL programme has been successful both clinically and financially, there are still more strides to be taken to improve upon young adult services. Future development of the programme is continuing with the incorporation of outcome data and outreach into the community.