Abstract

BACKGROUND This paper describes the 13-year outcome of an epidemiologically defined and representative cohort of patients selected when they were experiencing their first episode of schizophrenia.

METHOD In a 13-year follow-up study of a cohort identified in Nottingham in 1978-80, the outcome (symptoms, disability, residence and treatment) was assessed using standardised instruments.

RESULTS Four of the original 67 patients with ICD-9 schizophrenia were lost to follow-up and five were dead: 52% were without psychotic symptoms in the last two years of follow-up, 52% were without negative symptoms and 55% showed good/fair social functioning. However, only 17% were alive at follow-up, without symptoms and disability, and receiving no treatment.

CONCLUSIONS The findings reported are similar to those of other long-term follow-up studies of schizophrenia and also to 5-year follow-up studies. Kraepelin's emphasis on the longitudinal implications of a diagnosis of schizophrenia are supported, but may be over-pessimistic.