Canadian Guidelines for the Assessment and Diagnosis of Patients with Schizophrenia Spectrum and Other Psychotic Disorders

Donald Addington, Sabina Abidi, Iliana Garcia-Ortega, William G Honer, Zahinoor Ismail
Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. Revue Canadienne de Psychiatrie 2017, 62 (9): 594-603

OBJECTIVE: The objective of this article is to identify best practices in the diagnosis and assessment of patients with schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders. The diagnosis and assessment may occur in a range of situations from the emergency room to the outpatient clinic and at different stages of the disorder. The focus may be on acute exacerbations of illness, residual symptoms, levels of function, or changes in the response to treatment.

METHODS: A systematic search was conducted for guidelines published in the last 5 years for schizophrenia and schizophrenia spectrum disorders. The guidelines were rated by at least 2 raters, and recommendations adopted on the diagnosis and assessment were primarily drawn from the American Psychiatric Association practice guidelines for the psychiatric evaluation of adults and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guideline on psychosis and schizophrenia in adults. A number of de novo recommendations were also developed.

RESULTS: Eleven recommendations were identified that cover a range of assessment situations from diagnosis to the involvement of families in assessments.

CONCLUSIONS: An accurate assessment establishes the baseline for treatment planning based on clinical decision making for both pharmacotherapy and psychosocial treatments.


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