Vol 2, No 3 (2021)


Late ‘Early Intervention in Psychosis’: A Family School for Learning How to Live with Schizophrenia

Katschnig H., Sint P.


The paper describes a family school for learning how to live with schizophrenia, which was founded in 1986 in Vienna, Austria, and is still running today. It was established in cooperation between professionals and the Austrian self-help association HPE of the relatives of persons with mental disorders. It addresses the needs of 10 families at a time, in cases where a son or a daughter was diagnosed with schizophrenia and had already experienced one or several episodes of the illness. The course lasts one and a half years and is organized according to the model of a weekly boarding school, where 10 children, the “residents”, stay in the school overnight from Sunday evening to Friday and take part in a structured program on cognitive, social and practical life skills. Ambulatory psychiatric treatment is taking place concurrently outside the school through local routine services. On weekends residents stay with their parents since the school is closed. Parents visit the school regularly to take part in joint activities with the residents. They also undertake night shifts in the school and attend a weekly parents’ group. In the regular encounters during everyday activities in the school, “learning by doing” occurs – parents get to know the daughters and sons of other families and can learn to distinguish between disease-related and personality-related behavior. Residents can have similar learning experiences in relation to the parents of other residents. The main aim of the school is that parents learn to provide “protected autonomy” for the daughters or sons in question, in order to assist them after the end of the course in leading a life characterized by as much autonomy as possible after the end of the school.

Consortium Psychiatricum. 2021;2(3):3-16
pages 3-16 views


Revisiting Drug Compliance: The Need for a Holistic Approach in the Treatment of Severe Mental Disorders

Sorokin M.Y., Neznanov N.G., Lutova N.B., Wied V.D.


INTRODUCTION: The limited practice of depot antipsychotics and psychoeducation use, recommended for overcoming the noncompliance of patients with severe mental disorders, is linked to a high incidence of treatment violation. Therefore, the development of personalized mental healthcare approaches is a crucial healthcare task.

AIM: To describe and differentiate the role of clinical, social and psychological factors that lead to different level of treatment engagement of psychiatric inpatients.

METHODS: Secondary analysis of findings from 91 inpatients, based on the Treatment Motivation Assessment Questionnaire and Medication Compliance Scale, as well as the Scale of Internalized Stigma of Mental Illness and Perceived Discrimination and Devaluation Scale. Factorial analysis, cluster analysis and analysis of variance with p-level=0.05 and the calculation of the effect size (ES) according to Cohen’s d and Cramer’s V were used.

RESULTS: The nature of therapy compliance in various categories of patients is mediated differentially, including: the severity of negative symptoms (ES=0.29), the global level of functioning and work maladjustment (ES=0.23–0.26), various motivational and behavioral styles (ES≥0.74) and the intensity of psychiatric stigmatization (ES≥0.88).

CONCLUSIONS: Consideration of the clinical, social and psychological factors should empirically determine the strategies for the personalized use of prolonged antipsychotics and socio-psychotherapeutic interventions when developing an individual treatment plan for psychiatric in-patients.

Consortium Psychiatricum. 2021;2(3):17-25
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Clinical Features of First-episode Psychoses During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Zyablov V.A., Gusev M.A., Chizhikov V.S.


INTRODUCTION: The pandemic of the new coronavirus infection has become one of the most significant global social shocks in the past decade. It influenced the lifestyle of many people, including those with mental disorders.

AIM: To compare the psychopathological structure of psychotic states in young patients (up to 40 years old) with first-episode psychosis before the COVID-19 pandemic and during the COVID-19 pandemic.

METHODS: The research was conducted at the First psychotic episode clinic of the Mental-health clinic No. 1 n.a. N.A. Alexeev, Moscow, Russia. In total, 66 patients were enrolled, who met the inclusion criteria: first-in-life admission to a mental healthcare unit that occurred during the spring of 2019 (control group) or spring 2020 (experimental group), diagnosis on admission that belonged to the group “Acute and transient psychotic disorders” (F23.XX) of ICD-10. Patients with a disability or concurrent somatic or neurologic conditions were excluded from the study. Assessment of clinical and psychopathological characteristics with the allocation of the leading syndrome within the psychotic state, psychometric assessment according to the PANSS scale was carried out, the above indicators were compared between the experimental and control group.

RESULTS: We observed statistically insignificant increase in the rates of affective and catatonic subtypes of psychoses, a decrease in the rate of the delusional subtype of paranoid syndrome. PANSS scores differed significantly for different clinical subtypes of psychoses, although the differences between the experimental and control groups showed no statistical significance. Additionally, in spring 2020, a considerable decrease in the total number of hospitalizations was revealed.

CONCLUSIONS: The differences in the clinical and psychopathological structure of psychotic states revealed during the COVID-19 pandemic were statistically insignificant. Additional results of the study may indicate a decrease in the availability of mental healthcare for patients with psychoses, which requires further investigation.

Consortium Psychiatricum. 2021;2(3):27-33
pages 27-33 views

Ceramides: Shared Lipid Biomarkers of Cardiovascular Disease and Schizophrenia

Tkachev A.I., Stekolshchikova E.A., Morozova A.Y., Anikanov N.A., Zorkina Y.A., Alekseyeva P.N., Khobta E.B., Andreyuk D.S., Zozulya S.A., Barkhatova A.N., Klyushnik T.P., Reznik A.M., Kostyuk G.P., Khaitovich P.E.


INTRODUCTION: Schizophrenia, although a debilitating mental illness, greatly affects individuals’ physical health as well. One of the leading somatic comorbidities associated with schizophrenia is cardiovascular disease, which has been estimated to be one of the leading causes of excess mortality in patients diagnosed with schizophrenia. Although the shared susceptibility to schizophrenia and cardiovascular disease is well established, the mechanisms linking these two disorders are not well understood. Genetic studies have hinted toward shared lipid metabolism abnormalities co-occurring in the two disorders, while lipid compounds have emerged as prognostic markers for cardiovascular disease. In particular, three ceramide species in the blood plasma, Cer(d18:1/16:0), Cer(d18:1/18:0), and Cer(d18:1/24:1), have been robustly linked to the latter disorder.

AIM: We aimed to assess the differences in abundances of Cer(d18:1/16:0), Cer(d18:1/18:0), and Cer(d18:1/24:1) in the blood plasma of schizophrenia patients compared to healthy controls.

METHODS: We measured the abundances of Cer(d18:1/16:0), Cer(d18:1/18:0), and Cer(d18:1/24:1) in a cohort of 82 patients with schizophrenia and 138 controls without a psychiatric diagnosis and validated the results using an independent cohort of 26 patients with schizophrenia, 55 control individuals, and 19 patients experiencing a first psychotic episode.

RESULTS: We found significant alterations for all three ceramide species Cer(d18:1/16:0), Cer(d18:1/18:0), and Cer(d18:1/24:1) and a particularly strong difference in concentrations between psychiatric patients and controls for the ceramide species Cer(d18:1/18:0).

CONCLUSIONS: The alteration of Cer(d18:1/16:0), Cer(d18:1/18:0), and Cer(d18:1/24:1) levels in the blood plasma might be a manifestation of metabolic abnormalities common to both schizophrenia and cardiovascular disease.

Consortium Psychiatricum. 2021;2(3):35-43
pages 35-43 views


Comprehensive Clinical and Social Research at the Moscow Research Institute of Psychiatry: Translation into Clinical Practice

Shmukler A.B., Movina L.G., Papsuev O.O., Salnikova L.I., Shashkova N.G., Kiryanova E.M.


The article is devoted to the work of the Moscow Research Institute of Psychiatry to improve psychiatric care for patients with psychotic disorders. An important feature of this work was an integrated approach, in which the clinical picture of the disease was assessed in close connection with the patient's personal and psychological characteristics, social conditions of his life, therapeutic opportunities, rehabilitation potential and organizational structure of care.

The article reflects the results of many years of work of the department of outpatient psychiatry and the organization of psychiatric care under the guidance of Professor I.Ya. Gurovich. The results of scientific research carried out by the staff of the institute in a traditional humanistic manner are presented. The translational nature of the research is emphasized by its inextricable link with clinical and social approaches.

As a result of many years of work, a concept was developed to provide assistance to various groups of patients, starting with the first manifestations of the disease and ending with cases of long-term chronic disorders with a pronounced level of social maladaptation. As a result, a whole spectrum of new organizational forms of psychiatric care was proposed, such as departments (clinics) of the first psychotic episode, medical rehabilitation departments, assertive community treatment departments, designed for the most difficult patients. These organizational forms were fixed in the regulatory documents of the Ministry of Health and Social Development of the Russian Federation. To date, the above departments have been established in psychiatric institutions in many regions of the Russian Federation. Further development of this area is associated with neurobiological research to identify complex biomarkers of psychotic spectrum disorders.

Thus, the research carried out at the present time preserves the tradition of an integrated clinical and social approach to the study of mental disorders. It is shown that an important advantage of this approach is their translational nature.

Consortium Psychiatricum. 2021;2(3):45-52
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Community-Based Mental Health Services in Mexico

Cordero Oropeza M., Berenzon S., Robles R., Real T., Medina Mora M.


AIM: This article describes the general characteristics of community-based mental healthcare in Mexico.

METHODS: Data from national surveys, special studies and statistics from the national information system during the period 2001–2017 are used. Available information on health systems, new regulations and the innovations implemented are reviewed, as well as research on psychosocial interventions conducted within the country.

RESULTS: Data show a fragmented health system with services for workers and those without social security or private care. This is a treatment system essentially based on tertiary healthcare and not integrated into the general health system, with a significant treatment gap and delay in relation to the first treatment. At the same time, a slow but steady increase in the level of care provided at primary healthcare level and in specialized community services has been observed. This trend has been accompanied by an increase in the number of medical doctors, psychologists and, to a lesser extent, psychiatrists, incorporated into the primary healthcare services. At the same time, no new psychiatric hospitals have been built; there has been a proportional reduction in psychiatric beds but no increase in mental health services or beds allocated to first contact hospitals. Research initiatives have analysed the barriers to reform, and efficient interventions have been developed and tested for the community and for primary healthcare; special interventions are available for the most vulnerable but no formal efforts have been to facilitate their implementation.

CONCLUSIONS: Evidence is available regarding the implementation of the transition from reliance on tertiary healthcare to reinforced primary care. At the same time, parity, financial protection, quality and continuity of care remain major challenges.

Consortium Psychiatricum. 2021;2(3):53-62
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Community-Based Mental Health Services in India: Current Status and Roadmap for the Future

Hans G., Sharan P.


An estimated 197.3 million people have mental disorders in India, and majority of the population have either no or limited access to mental health services. Thus, the country has a huge burden of mental disorders, and there is a significant treatment gap. Public mental health measures have become a developmental priority so that sustainable gains may be made in this regard. The National Mental Health Program (NMHP) was launched in 1982 as a major step forward for mental health services in India, but it has only been able to partially achieve the desired mental health outcomes. Despite efforts to energize and scale up the program from time to time, progress with development of community-based mental health services and achievement of the desired outcomes in India has been slow. Public health measures, along with integration of mental health services in primary healthcare systems, offer the most sustainable and effective model given the limited mental health resources. The main barriers to this integration include already overburdened primary health centres (PHCs), which face the following challenges: limited staff; multiple tasks; a high patient load; multiple, concurrent programs; lack of training, supervision, and referral services; and non-availability of psychotropic medications in the primary healthcare system. Thus, there is an urgent need for a fresh look at implementation of the NMHP, with a focus on achieving sustainable improvements in a timely manner.

Consortium Psychiatricum. 2021;2(3):63-71
pages 63-71 views

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