AIM: Recent studies of 'duration of untreated psychosis' (DUP) indicate that some patients remain untreated in the community for some time. Considerable emphasis has been placed on reducing the DUP. However, most studies investigating DUP have been conducted in Western countries, where well-developed primary care systems are available. This study aims to describe DUP and its association with both demographic factors and pathways to care in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
METHODS: A retrospective study of 421 new case records of all Saudi schizophrenia patients over a 2-year period in six governmental hospitals in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
RESULTS: The median DUP was 1.41 years (interquartile range 0.35-2.81 years). The longest time to contact was 9.86 years but 90% had a DUP shorter than 5 years. Older age at onset, single marital status and higher educational level were associated with shorter DUP. Long DUP was associated with help seeking from traditional healers.
CONCLUSION: In Saudi Arabia, it usually takes longer for patients to seek help from psychiatric services after their first psychosis onset than it does in Western countries. The results suggest that the DUP is influenced by both demographic factors and pathways to care.