Aim: Within an early detection sector, to compare the 1- and 2-year course and outcome of first-episode psychosis patients coming into the treatment system via active outreach detection teams (DTs) versus those achieving help via ordinary referral channels (not-DT).
Methods: Longitudinal, comparative study of two parallel consecutive samples using structured clinical interview for the DSM-IV, Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale Score, Global Assessment of Functioning Scale and Premorbid Assessment of Functioning Scale.
Results: The DT group had significantly better functioning at baseline, but this was reversed after 3 months. At 2 years the groups had similar outcome. The DT group developed a more serious diagnostic pattern, had more cases of schizophrenia, and was more frequently treated on an outpatient basis only.
Conclusions: The DTs recruited more chronic patients with poorer prognostic features, but fewer symptoms and better functioning at baseline. At 2 years the DT-patients did as well as the not-DT patients. They recovered more slowly, but given sufficient time, responded as well to therapy as the not-DT group.