More sensitive identification of psychotic experiences in common mental disorder by primary mental healthcare services – effect on prevalence and recovery: casting the net wider

Clare Knight, Debra Russo, Jan Stochl, Peter B. Jones, Jesus Perez

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Psychotic experiences may emerge in more severe cases of common mental disorders (CMD). Previous work identified that 30% of patients treated by mental health services in primary healthcare, specifically the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme in England, reported psychotic experiences, began treatment with more severe CMD and were less likely to reach recovery.

To replicate our previous assessment of psychotic experiences in the IAPT programme using a more sensitive threshold and determine its impact on the prevalence of psychotic experience and likelihood of recovery. Additionally, to compare recovery rates between patients with and without psychotic experiences at the end of therapy.

The Community Assessment of Psychic Experiences (CAPE-P15) with a cut-off of 1.30 was used to determine the prevalence of psychotic experiences. Recovery rates were determined using measures collected in the IAPT programme for depression (PHQ-9) and anxiety (GAD-7). Multi-group growth models estimated improvement trajectories.

In total, 2042 patients with CMD completed the CAPE-P15. The mean age was 39.8. The prevalence of psychotic experiences was 18% higher when using a lower threshold. The recovery rate for patients with psychotic experiences was lower (36%) than for those without (64%). Despite sharing similar improvement trajectories, the higher initial severity of CMD among patients with psychotic experiences impeded likelihood of recovery.

As psychotic experiences may be a marker of severity in CMD, the benefits of identifying these in IAPT populations may also apply to patients with milder experiences. Further investigation of the consequential demands on service provision and how this would affect clinical practice is recommended.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere136
Number of pages6
JournalBJPsych Open
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 6 Nov 2020

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