Document Type



Psychiatry; Community Health Sciences


Objective: To determine the prodromal symptoms of schizophrenia in the pathways to help-seeking.STUDY Design: A cross-sectional study.PLACE AND DURATION OF STUDY: The Department of Psychiatry, the Aga Khan University, Karachi, from 2008 to 2009.METHODOLOGY: A total of 93 patients were interviewed in the pathways to care of schizophrenia. The diagnosis was based on ICD-10 criteria. The pathways to care were assessed through a semi-structured questionnaire. The onset, course and symptoms of psychosis were assessed through Interview for Retrospective Assessment at Age at Onset of Psychosis (IROAS).Results: Fifty five (59%) participants were male while 41% (n=38%) were female. Using IROAS, 108 symptoms were identified as concerning behaviour. Alternatively, 60 (55%) concerning behaviours were reported in the open-ended inquiry of the reasons for help seeking as assessed by the pathways to care questionnaire with a statistically significant difference between most symptoms category. The difference was most pronounced (p < 0.001) for depressed mood (66%), worries (65%), tension (63%), withdrawal/mistrust (54%) and loss of self-confidence (53%). Thought withdrawal (22%) and passivity (15%) were elicited only through structured interview (IROAS). When symptoms were categorized together, about 83% of the subjects presented with affective and non-specific prodromal symptoms. Roughly, 10% of the subjects presented with positive symptoms and 3% presented with the negative symptoms of psychosis. The non-specific, affective symptoms appear to predominate the prodromal phase of the illness.CONCLUSION: Prodromal symptoms of schizophrenia include non-specific, affective symptoms. Attention needs to be paid on identifying the prodromal symptoms and change in social functioning in order to identify those who are at risk of longterm psychosis.


Journal of the College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan

Included in

Psychiatry Commons