"For Those with Mental Illness, the Facts Matter" - guest blog
(Dec. 7, 2012) Selective quotes taken out of context do not benefit our understanding of serious and persistent mental illness.
So, imagine my surprise when I discover that the Mad in America people are using an academic paper by Dr. Robert Zipursky of McMaster University as proof of the evils of antipsychotic medication. Their website states "decreases in brain tissue volumes are attributable to antipsychotic medication, substance abuse, and other secondary factors. The authors conclude that the majority of people with schizophrenia diagnoses have the potential to achieve long-term recovery."
And, one of the comments on the site states "Thank you for finding these studies - for helping build a catalogue of research on MiA - one that helps dispel the 'myth' of biospsychiatry." MiA is Mad in America. I happen to know Zipursky and even quoted him in my own book on the need for medication in schizophrenia so I was intrigued.
I've now read his paper in its entirety and he is not advocating against medication use. In fact, the paper says "with appropriate care, including the skillful prescription of antipsychotic medication, the early years following a FEP (first episode psychotic break) are not typically periods of decline but rather of substantial ongoing improvement in symptom severity and functioning." About 70-74% of patients achieve remission in the first year....
In a phone interview with me, Zipursky reiterated the need for medication which he described as "critical" for anyone with schizophrenia. Medication is needed, he said, for life so that the person with schizophrenia can remain well. And, he was a bit surprised that his paper was being used to refute the need for medication. It is important for all (consumers, family and professionals) to have a shared understanding of all the facts.
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