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Published in: European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience 6/2023

21-01-2023 | Schizophrenia | Original Paper

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on hallucinations and delusions in youth at clinical high-risk for psychosis and outpatients with schizophrenia

Authors: Alysia M. Berglund, Ian M. Raugh, Kelsey I. Macdonald, Sydney H. James, Lisa A. Bartolomeo, Anna R. Knippenberg, Gregory P. Strauss

Published in: European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience | Issue 6/2023

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Abstract

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has had detrimental effects on mental health in the general population, the impact on those with schizophrenia-spectrum disorders has received relatively little attention. Assessing pandemic-related changes in positive symptoms is particularly critical to inform treatment protocols and determine whether fluctuations in hallucinations and delusions are related to telehealth utilization and treatment adherence. In the current longitudinal study, we evaluated changes in the frequency of hallucinations and delusions and distress resulting from them across three-time points. Participants included: (1) outpatients with chronic schizophrenia (SZ: n = 32) and healthy controls (CN: n = 31); (2) individuals at clinically high risk for psychosis (CHR: n = 25) and CN (n = 30). A series of questionnaires were administered to assess hallucination and delusion severity, medication adherence, telehealth utilization, and protective factors during the pandemic. While there were no significant increases in the frequency of hallucinations and delusions in SZ and CHR, distress increased from pre-pandemic to early pandemic in both groups and then decreased at the third time point. Additionally, changes in positive symptom severity in SZ were related to psychiatric medication adherence. Findings suggest that positive symptoms are a critical treatment target during the pandemic and that ongoing medication services will be beneficial.
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Metadata
Title
The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on hallucinations and delusions in youth at clinical high-risk for psychosis and outpatients with schizophrenia
Authors
Alysia M. Berglund
Ian M. Raugh
Kelsey I. Macdonald
Sydney H. James
Lisa A. Bartolomeo
Anna R. Knippenberg
Gregory P. Strauss
Publication date
21-01-2023
Publisher
Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Published in
European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience / Issue 6/2023
Print ISSN: 0940-1334
Electronic ISSN: 1433-8491
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s00406-023-01551-8

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