Monday, January 16, 2006

Schizophrenia: progress

The fact that some two-thirds of people diagnosed as schizophrenic have suffered physical or sexual abuse is shown to be a major, if not the major, cause of the illness. Proving the connection between the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and schizophrenia, Read shows that many schizophrenic symptoms are directly caused by trauma.
Poor people are several times more likely than the rich to suffer schizophrenia, and urban life increases the risk.
In fact, if you become ill in a developing nation where hardly anyone is treated with drugs, you are 10 times less likely to have any recurrence of the illness - a huge difference, also nothing to do with genes.
What it may have a lot to do with is the administration of drugs (see British psychologist Richard Bentall's book, Madness Explained). They have been shown to impede traumatised people from understanding their voices or visions and recovering from them. There is a close relationship between the drug companies and the psychiatric establishment. While it may not be the intention, the establishment explanation of the causes of and solutions to schizophrenia are crucial components in the process of selling drugs. If patients can be persuaded their illness is an unchangeable genetic destiny and that it is a physical problem requiring a physical solution, drug companies' profits will grow. story/0,,1598133,00.html

Certainly, people I know who have been inside the mental health system in the UK say that their time inside made them much worse (psychologically) than they were beforehand. Let's hope that this research will begin to improve the treatment and support of those with mental disorders.


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