Predicting Relapse In Schizophrenia.
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People with schizophrenia often go through fluctuations in the severity of their symptoms.Several studies have indicated that autonomic arousal, measured in terms of electrodermal activity (EDA), tends to be higher during an exacerbation; there are also reasons to believe that arousal becomes elevated BEFORE psychotic symptoms worsen. Another way to predict when relapse will occur is to monitor life events, particularly negative ones; exacerbations are more likely after an unusually bad event in the life of the person. The present study is the first of two steps in testing the hypothesis that the coincidence of a period with elevated EDA and a period with many negative life events can predict the exacerbation of psychotic symptoms. This was observed in the majority of the participants in this study; the prodromal period (the two weeks prior to an increase in symptoms) was generally characterized with raised EDA and more negative life events than usual.The cases that did not support these observations might have been characterized by high anxiety, a frequent cause for heightened autonomic arousal.