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First Break Psychosis

First Break Psychosis

First break psychosis (FBP) refers to the onset of psychotic symptoms in individuals who have no prior history of psychotic episodes. FBP typically occurs in adolescents and young adults, with an average age of onset between 15 and 30 years old. FBP is a critical period in the early detection and treatment of psychotic disorders, including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, which can significantly impact an individual’s mental and physical well-being. The causes of FBP are complex and multifactorial, involving a combination of genetic, environmental, and neurobiological factors. Some possible causes of FBP include:  

Genetic susceptibility:

Individuals with a family history of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder may have a higher risk of developing FBP.

Substance use:

The use of certain substances, such as cannabis or amphetamines, has been linked to an increased risk of FBP.

Environmental factors:

Exposure to stress, trauma, or social isolation may increase the risk of FBP.

Neurobiological factors:

Abnormalities in brain structure and function, such as reduced gray matter volume or altered neurotransmitter function, may contribute to the development of FBP.

The treatment of FBP typically involves a combination of medication, psychotherapy, and supportive care. Some treatment strategies include:

Antipsychotic medication:

Medications such as risperidone, olanzapine, or quetiapine can help reduce the severity of psychotic symptoms in individuals with FBP.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT):

CBT can help individuals with FBP manage their symptoms, reduce distress, and improve social and occupational functioning.

Family therapy:

Family therapy can help improve communication, reduce stress, and enhance social support for individuals with FBP and their families.

Social skills training:

Social skills training can help individuals with FBP improve their social functioning and reduce social isolation.

Early intervention and treatment for FBP are essential for improving long-term outcomes and reducing the risk of relapse. Ongoing monitoring and support from mental health professionals can help individuals with FBP manage their symptoms and achieve their goals for recovery.


Frequently Asked Questions

Everyone goes through challenging situations in life, and while you may have successfully navigated through other difficulties you’ve faced, there’s nothing wrong with seeking out extra support when you need it. In fact, therapy is for people who have enough self-awareness to realize they need a helping hand, and that is something to be admired. You are taking responsibility by accepting where you’re at in life and making a commitment to change the situation by seeking therapy. Therapy provides long-lasting benefits and support, giving you the tools you need to avoid triggers, re-direct damaging patterns, and overcome whatever challenges you face.

A number of benefits are available from participating in therapy. Therapists can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, grief, stress management, body image issues and creative blocks. Many people also find that counselors can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the hassles of daily life. Therapists can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution. The benefits you obtain from therapy depend on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn. Some of the benefits available from therapy include:

  • Attaining a better understanding of yourself, your goals and values
  • Developing skills for improving your relationships
  • Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy
  • Learning new ways to cope with stress and anxiety
  • Managing anger, grief, depression, and other emotional pressures
  • Improving communications and listening skills
  • Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones
  • Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family or marriage
  • Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence

People have many different motivations for coming to psychotherapy. Some may be going through a major life transition (unemployment, divorce, new job, etc.), or are not handling stressful circumstances well. Some people need assistance managing a range of other issues such as low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, addictions, relationship problems, spiritual conflicts and creative blocks. Therapy can help provide some much needed encouragement and help with skills to get them through these periods. Others may be at a point where they are ready to learn more about themselves or want to be more effective with their goals in life. In short, people seeking psychotherapy are ready to meet the challenges in their lives and ready to make changes in their lives.

Because each person has different issues and goals for therapy, therapy will be different depending on the individual. In general, you can expect to discuss the current events happening in your life, your personal history relevant to your issue, and report progress (or any new insights gained) from the previous therapy session. Depending on your specific needs, therapy can be short-term, for a specific issue, or longer-term, to deal with more difficult patterns or your desire for more personal development. Either way, it is most common to schedule regular sessions with your therapist (usually weekly).

It is important to understand that you will get more results from therapy if you actively participate in the process. The ultimate purpose of therapy is to help you bring what you learn in session back into your life. Therefore, beyond the work you do in therapy sessions, your therapist may suggest some things you can do outside of therapy to support your process – such as reading a pertinent book, journaling on specific topics, noting particular behaviors or taking action on your goals. People seeking psychotherapy are ready to make positive changes in their lives, are open to new perspectives and take responsibility for their lives.