UBC research identifies gaps in helping youth diagnosed with early stages of psychosis

October 14, 2020

New UBC research is highlighting the need for improved training when it comes to helping young people living with psychosis determine their sense of identity.

"Identity development is a normal part of growing up and generally happens when someone is in their late adolescence or early adult years," explains Shelly Ben-David, assistant professor at UBC Okanagan's School of Social Work and study lead author. "It's that time in life when a young person starts asking who they are and exploring their personal goals, their own values and even their role in life."

But at this stage in life, when personal identity is being explored and acknowledged, young people might also have their first experience with a mental health issue such as psychosis--if that happens, those young people may have a difficult time clearly defining their personal identity or even a sense of worth.

"The onset of psychosis in adolescence or young adulthood has the potential to dramatically interfere with identity-related processes", says David Kealy, assistant professor with UBC Vancouver's department of psychiatry and study co-author. "This creates an entire level of vulnerability for youth to contend with in their early psychosis recovery."

Kealy explains that psychotic disorders are stigmatized in society and that can lead to a negative sense of self in a young person.

"This can become a profound obstacle for someone in the beginning stages of their adulthood," he adds.

Ben-David says part of the solution is early intervention, since the longer the psychosis goes untreated, the worse the outcome.

"Current psychosis treatment often tends to not focus on identity development and indeed our study shows that there's a lack of training in this area," says Ben-David.

With that in mind, the researchers surveyed more than 300 multi-professional clinicians working in early psychosis intervention programs in BC. They found that only half of those surveyed felt they had a high level of confidence in their ability to address issues related to identity in treatment--revealing a gap between clinicians' recognition of the importance of identity as a concern and their capacity to help their clients with this issue in a consistent and meaningful way.

"Our findings indicate a need for early psychosis programs to invest in identity-related training for clinicians," says Ben-David. "Next steps are to work closely with the community to explore the impact of identity-focused interventions in the early stages of psychosis."

"Our goal is to help as many young people as possible."
Their research, funded by the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research and a UBC Collaborative Research Mobility Award, was published recently in Early Intervention in Psychiatry.

University of British Columbia Okanagan campus

Related Psychosis Articles from Brightsurf:

Unravelling the origins of autoimmune psychosis
Anti-NMDAR encephalitis is an autoimmune brain illness that is often mistaken by a psychiatric disorder since it causes psychoses and other behaviour alterations.

Targeted treatment for depression could benefit patients with psychosis
Patients with early onset psychosis may benefit from treatment for depression, including with anti-depressants alongside other medication, new research shows.

Pimavanserin reduced symptoms of dementia-related psychosis in phase 3 trial
New data presented at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference indicates that pimavanserin leads to a robust reduction in the severity of psychosis symptoms during the 12 week open-label phase of the study, regardless of the underlying dementia subtype or the severity of participants' dementia.

Young people with early psychosis may not require antipsychotic medications to recover
Researchers at Orygen have found that some young people with early stage first episode psychosis (FEP) can experience reduced symptoms and improve functioning without antipsychotic medication when they are provided with psychological interventions and comprehensive case management.

NMDA receptors may link psychosis and sleep deficits
Sofya Kulikova, a researcher at HSE University in Perm, is part of an international research team that has discovered potential mechanisms that explain the sleep spindle deficit in electroencephalograms (EEG) of people with schizophrenia.

Almost half of all postpartum psychosis are isolated cases
A new research result from iPSYCH shows that 40% of the women who suffer a psychosis after giving birth -- known as postpartum psychosis - do not subsequently become ill again.

Thirty risk factors found during and after pregnancy for children developing psychosis
More than 30 significant risk factors have been identified for the development of psychotic disorders in offspring in research led by the NIHR Maudsley BRC.

A new window into psychosis
A recent study in mice led a team of researchers in Japan to believe that psychosis may be caused by problems with specialized nerve cells deep within the brain, as well as a certain kind of learning behavior.

New insight into how cannabidiol takes effect in the brains of people with psychosis
Researchers from King's College London have shown that cannabidiol (CBD) alters the brain activity in people with psychosis during memory tasks, making it more similar to the activation seen in people without psychosis during the same tasks.

Study finds 'cluster of disadvantage' behind BAME psychosis rates
Excess psychosis diagnoses amongst black and South Asian men in deprived urban areas could reflect a cluster of disadvantage in specific places, rather than individual experiences of deprivation alone, a study led by Queen Mary University of London researchers concludes.

Read More: Psychosis News and Psychosis Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.