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date: 24 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Early intervention strategies for treating psychosis before the manifestation of frank disease have blossomed as research shows the positive impact of treatment earlier in the development of psychotic illness. Because of the uncertainty of individual patients’ conversion to an easily diagnosable condition however, ethical concerns have arisen in establishing the appropriate balance of risks and harms, in obtaining informed consent, and in conducting general research and treatment of minors. This chapter examines the ethics of early intervention from a historical perspective, tracing advances in research ethics that allowed the conduct of research with children who may develop psychotic illness to the clinical ethics required in offering early interventions themselves. The authors explore the implications of early intervention’s introduction into the psychiatric diagnostic manual and recommend avenues for further discourse.

Keywords: early intervention, psychosis prodrome, schizophrenia, research ethics, clinical ethics, DSM-5, scientific uncertainty

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