Dr. Moller VO: The typical definition of relapse in schizophrenia has been a psychotic break that results in hospitalization. In our program, we define it very differently. We define relapse as a return of symptoms of enough severity to interfere with normal activities of daily living. So, if the person is, all of a sudden, not showering, not taking care of themselves, not wanting to leave their room, that’s a very serious sign that symptoms are most likely getting worse. We watch for early symptoms, teach patients about that and tell them not to be afraid to report early symptoms. That they’re not a failure for reporting early symptoms.
Dr. Hurford VO: I think it’s really important that relapse in psychosis not be considered a failure because the natural course of psychotic illnesses includes relapse. In real life, everybody has times where things are up and times where things are down, and relapse can be seen like that. And so, I think we have to have realistic expectations about the place of relapse in people’s lives. It’s going to happen, but we can do things to mitigate it, to make it a softer landing so that instead of people needing to go into the hospital, let’s say, for a couple of weeks or a couple of months, maybe they don’t go into the hospital at all. Maybe they go into the hospital for a brief time. Maybe their lives aren’t so disrupted by the experience of relapse. So, we can’t always prevent relapse, but it is our goal to make relapses shorter and less damaging.