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Hallucinations may be predicted in youth: Research report



Well-known member
Dec 11, 2007
Could this lead to treating people before they have a diagnosis, preventive medicine?

See below

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Psychiatrists claim they can predict with as much as 80 percent accuracy which mentally troubled teens will develop the delusions and hallucinations of schizophrenia.

Early warning signs such as a youth's ability to relate to friends and function in school, and whether relatives also had schizophrenia, can be used to predict with varying levels of accuracy which will develop psychoses, researchers said. In patients with five or more warning signs, 8 in 10 will become psychotic within 30 months, the scientists found.

Identifying troubled young patients before their first bout of full-blown psychosis would give psychiatrists the opportunity to intervene early. The approach must balance the potential benefit against the risk that patients would be treated unnecessarily with drugs such as Eli Lilly & Co.'s Zyprexa, which have significant side effects.

"For everyone's sake it would be good if we could predict psychosis onset," said David Healy, a professor in psychological medicine at Cardiff University College of Medicine in Wales, who wasn't involved with the study, in an e-mail yesterday. "The worry about predicting psychosis at the moment is that it will lead to prescribing anti-psychotic medications which are not curative and are likely to cause a lot of problems."

The study, published today in the Archives of General Psychiatry, followed 291 teenagers with an average age of 18 for 2 1/2 years. Of those, 82, or 28 percent, developed full-blown psychosis during that period. Almost all of them entered the study because they'd recently begun to have pre-psychotic symptoms or because those symptoms had recently worsened.

Most of the patients came to eight clinics around the country to get help because they'd begun having unusual thoughts, were suspicious or paranoid, were having trouble communicating coherently, or were hearing buzzing or clicking noises -- though not having full-blown hallucinations or hearing voices.

Over the next 30 months, 35 percent of these patients became psychotic, most of them within one year. If the patients also had each of a series of other behaviors -- including poor grooming, disturbed thinking, major declines in their ability to function -- they would then have as much as an 80 percent chance of becoming psychotic, the study found.

A previous study led by one of the psychiatrists participating in this new research, Thomas McGlashan of Yale University, also attempted to define young people at risk of becoming psychotic and treated them with Zyprexa.

The study triggered controversy because "you're offering treatment to individuals who don't yet have a disorder and you're treating them with anti-psychotic medications," said Robert Heinssen, a researcher with the National Institute of Mental Health, a U.S. agency, and the senior author of the new study.

"The ethical quandary was: are you able to predict with sufficient accuracy who's going to go on to have a psychotic episode," Heinssen said. "Because if you can't, then you're treating a very large number of people who probably would not go on to develop the disorder."

Today's study was designed to help solve that dilemma, Heinssen said, and showed that psychiatrists could be about as accurate in predicting psychosis in some of their patients as cardiologists could be in predicting worsening of heart disease in theirs.

The findings still need to be replicated in other studies and shouldn't be interpreted by mental health professionals as being a call to prescribe anti-psychotics to young patients with pre-psychotic symptoms.

"Nowhere in this paper will you see any recommendation that people should be treated with anti-psychotic medications," Heinssen said. "Our consortium is not in favor of aggressive intervention with anti-psychotic drugs at this phase of illness because the evidence is not yet there that this would have a prophylactic effect."


Well-known member
Founding Member
Dec 18, 2007
Very interesting - predicting Schizophrenia and medicating before the onset.

I would give anything if they could've done this with me, even though I'd have to take anti-psychotic medication before the illness developed. If it can reduce the symptoms of the onset or even prevent the onset itself, I think it's worth it.

I lost a lot at 18 years of age because of my illness, things that really mattered to me - my degree ( got a diploma for the work I did do eventually after having a total of 3 attempts at it ), my friends, social life, work experience as well as lost earnings over the years and not to mention quite a few potential girlfriends :mad:. If I had to take medication earlier to prevent all this loss and disappointment when I was younger I'd be happy to do so - but with the hindsight I have now, it's understandable. To be honest, if had to start taking medication between, say, the ages of 12 - 16 with all the side effects ( especially the drowsiness and weight gain ) it would be harder to accept in my mind because I wouldn't have the hindsight that I do now. That's the catch 22 situation with me anyway.

I was lucky to have my diagnosis and treatment started about 3 months after the illness started so hopefully I'm in with a good chance of recovery even though it may take years. Allright, so it's been 11 years and counting but I hope that the reasonable treatment intervention time will make a difference and that I recover eventually. Even if it's partial, that's better than nothing - I'll take what I can get, even though I don't really have a choice in the matter.


Well-known member
Mar 25, 2016
You could probably predict it yes.

Where spirits go we pop up, we might show up where a witch or two has been as well.

We may become "ill" during certain times of year actually, my psychosis began on halloween.

Yeah, you could probably predict some shit.