The First Episode Clinic is operated at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center. We encourage patients to participate in research if they are stable and if we feel that participation would not hinder specific treatment and therapeutic goals. Though it is always stressed that participation is voluntary, we believe that participation in research of utmost importance because study outcomes equip us with knowledge that may lead to more effective treatment approaches.
Research participation is separate from treatment at the FEC, and it will not impact how your psychiatrist or therapist treats you. Below are some examples of research studies patients may be asked to participate in:
Family Imaging Study: fMRI technology is used to study genetics and family history, in addition to brain changes associated with a first psychotic break
Smoking Study: Why do individuals with schizophrenia or psychosis smoke more?
Learning and Memory Study: This MRI study aims to examine differences in learning and memory in patients and their family members
First Episode Management
It is also our goal to improve social, academic and occupational functioning, as well as increase your ability to live your life the way you want to.
There are two basic principles that most experts in the field of first episode psychosis management and treatment agree upon:
1st, the sooner treatment begins after the first psychotic break, the shorter the duration of untreated psychosis will be. The longer psychosis is left untreated, the more severe one’s negative symptoms may become.
2nd, a comprehensive treatment approach betters one’s chances for recovery. Antipsychotic medications reduce symptoms, reduce disability associated with symptoms, and reduce chances for relapse. Long-term management of side effects of antipsychotic medication is required in most patients. Comprehensive therapy and psychosocial support improve recovery, reduce disability associated with symptoms and improve family, social, and employment success.