The ASC philosophy embodies the concept that "time is brain". The analogy is simple as the literature supports early optimal intervention as a means of limiting or eliminating lifetime disability.
At the heart of the ASC paradigm is the premise that a SMI is a traumatic neurological event - like an internal assault on the brain. One young person who has experienced psychosis described it as his head 'exploding'. Yet the time lag between the onset of psychotic symptoms and the start of treatment is often extensive. At the same time, there is convincing evidence that the longer the duration of untreated psychosis, the poorer the outcomes.
At ASC the goal of early optimal intervention is to improve outcomes by promoting as full a recovery as possible thereby reducing the long-term disability - both human and economic - associated with a SMI. To achieve this, early intervention strategies are treatment loaded and thereby designed to limit the duration of the illness and prevent relapse.
Our experience tells us that with transitional age youth a limited number of the variables predicting outcome appear modifiable — duration of untreated psychosis (DUP), family atmosphere and substance abuse.
Key Elements of the ASC Early Optimal Intervention Model
In the initial phase the focus will be on a production of acute illness through evidence-based pharmacotherapy, social skills training, supportive psychotherapy and education.
Once an illness is defined, careful and comprehensive assessment of the individual by the ASC team is the next step this provides a significant opportunity for practitioners to begin to develop a positive, honest, and mutually respectful relationship. "A therapeutic alliance" with the client and their family. This alliance is viewed as key to the formation of a productive treatment experience.
Family engagement and support. Our programs are based on the premise that the family can play a significant role in promoting the recovery of their family them. However, in order to do so the family requires inclusion in the therapeutic process. Whenever appropriate family members will be included in treatment planning and therapy.
Finally, rapid reintegration is often an important concept consider with transitional age youth. Specifically, when the initial phase’s treatment and illness are resolved, individuals in our continuum will resume their social life; begin working, and attending school.