Preventing Relapse of Psychotic Illness: Role of Self-Monitoring of Prodromal Symptoms
The consequences of psychotic relapse have been found to be damaging to both psychiatric clients and their families, as well as having a detrimental effect on the financial resources of mental health services. As a result of these findings, it is viewed that effective relapse prevention should form an integral component of standard psychiatric care. The prodromal phase of psychosis offers an important window of opportunity for such intervention, and also appears to contain a predictive feature in the progression of an individual's psychosis. The prodromal phase is perhaps best viewed as the emergence of early signs, and signifies the onset of psychotic relapse. A number of techniques have been developed to address the issue of relapse prevention, including pharmacological and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) approaches. However, it is viewed that incorporating patient self-monitoring may result in more effective relapse prevention. The early intervention Back In The Saddle (BITS) approach is based on educating clients about early signs, and helping them to develop skills in self-monitoring. This collaborative therapeutic technique is aimed at constructing a relapse signature, developing a relapse drill, and helping the client to achieve a greater sense of understanding and control over their illness. It is concluded that relapse prevention is vitally important to the recovery process. By involving clients and educating them to use self-monitoring techniques, we can influence the progression of psychosis and the impact it makes upon peoples' lives. Ultimately, it is hoped that effective relapse prevention will reduce hospitalization, and consequentially decrease the financial demands upon mental health trusts.
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