The duration of untreated psychosis, or DUP, is a significant factor in the prognosis for a psychotic disorder or related condition. The more time passes between the first psychosis symptoms and adequate treatment, the poorer the prognosis. Evidence suggests that early treatment—and a shorter DUP—promotes better symptom improvement and overall functioning in everyday life.
There is yet inadequate proof to say conclusively that psychosis causes permanent brain damage. But researchers are still pursuing a better understanding of the neurological impact of psychotic episodes. And, regardless of the cause-and-effect realities involved, immediate clinical attention for symptoms of psychosis is widely recommended.
The known risks of untreated psychosis can include:
- Difficulties with work or school performance
- Possible job loss
- Financial issues
- Legal issues
- Substance abuse—possibly as a form of self-medication
- Possible homelessness
- Relationship problems and losses
- Worsening symptoms of co-occurring disorders
- Worsening symptoms of medical disorders
- Possible self-harm or even suicide