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What is insight? 

Insight is defined as the awareness of having a mental disorder, including an understanding of the social consequences associated with the disorder; the need for treatment; the effects of medication; an awareness of the implications; and awareness of the signs and symptoms of the disorder. Insight is clinically important as it is linked to non-adherence of treatment, as patients who lack insight may not believe they have a psychotic illness and therefore do not believe they need medication.

What is the evidence for insight?

Moderate to high quality evidence suggests more severe symptoms are related to lower levels of insight of the disorder and its consequences. Conversely, increased depression is related to increased levels of insight. High quality evidence suggests small associations between better insight and higher IQ and better memory functioning. Moderate, or moderate to low quality evidence also suggests small associations between better insight and less aggression, better work and social functioning, increased treatment adherence, reduced symptom severity and fewer re-hospitalisations. Moderate to low quality evidence suggests any treatment for schizophrenia improves insight, particularly in combination with other treatments that target insight specifically.


May 2016

Page last updated: 4:16  6 September 2017

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