The aim of this chapter is to summarize the state-of-the-art knowledge of clinical staging in schizophrenia spectrum disorders. Clinical staging has been introduced to psychiatry in the past two decades. Its primary goal is to divide the course of the disorder into recognizable stages based on seriousness, development and symptom characteristics in order to better predict prognosis and to adopt the most appropriate treatment strategies. The first staging model was developed in 1982. Since then several distinct concepts of clinical staging in psychiatry have emerged. To date, there is no clinical consensus regarding which staging model is the gold standard, nonetheless when merging them together an integrated staging concept arises. The integrated staging model of schizophrenia spectrum disorders is composed of four stages. The chapter will introduce the different staging models in a historical order as well as present the integrated staging model detailing the characteristics, timeline and dominating symptoms of each stage. Appropriate treatment strategies for the distinct stages will also be outlined.
Part of the book: Psychosis