Health Matters – Schizophrenia

Psychiatry_Psychology.jpgSchizophrenia is a chronic, severe, and disabling brain disease. Approximately 1 percent of the population develops schizophrenia during their lifetime — more than 2 million Americans suffer from the illness in a given year. Dr. Kristin Cadenhead, UCSD Department of Psychiatry discusses this mysterious and devastating disease.

Excerpted from uctv.

  • Schizophrenia is a chronic, severe, and disabling brain disease.

    Is the above a true statement? Consider the following…

    – Psychiatrists who say that so-called schizophrenia is a brain disease like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and multiple sclerosis, are distorting medical facts. They are making the so-called “schizophrenic” condition seem much worse than it is. What these psychiatrists do not tell the public is that while neurologists can determine with laboratory testing who has Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and multiple sclerosis, no neurologist can determine with laboratory tests who has schizophrenia and who does not. No one dies from schizophrenia, even when untreated, and people diagnosed with “schizophrenia” can recover on their own without treatment-something no person with Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, or multiple sclerosis has ever done.

    – Schizophrenia is not “a disease” (singular.) Starting with the original descriptions nearly 100 years ago, all professional references describe “the schizophrenias” (plural) as a group of conditions.

    Dr. Al Seibert

    Most Americans are unaware that the World Health Organization (WHO) has repeatedly found that long-term schizophrenia outcomes are much worse in the USA and other developed countries than in poor ones such as India and Nigeria, where relatively few patients are on anti-psychotic medications. In undeveloped countries, nearly two-thirds of schizophrenia patients are doing fairly well five years after initial diagnosis; about 40% have basically recovered. But in the USA and other developed countries, most patients become chronically ill. The outcome differences are so marked that WHO concluded that living in a developed country is a strong predictor that a patient will never fully recover.

    The Doctor’s Lounge

    In the early years of the nineteenth century, when psychiatry was just beginning, a furious argument raged between people with very different opinions about the nature and course of mental disorders. On the one hand, psychiatrists like Eugene Bleuler believed that recovery was possible and indeed likely for the vast majority of people suffering from serious mental disorders like schizophrenia (then called dementia praecox).

    On the other hand, psychiatrists such as Emil Kraepelin insisted that recovery was impossible and that sufferers would never recover. Indeed he believed that their condition would get worse throughout their lives. Kraepelin won the debate and the idea of permanent illness and disability formed the basis of mental health services for almost two centuries.

    Stuart Sorenson

    Manfred Bleuler: “I have found the prognosis of schizophrenia to be more hopeful than it has long considered to be.”

    Luc Ciompi and Christian Muller: “The long-term evolution of schizophrenia is much more variable and considerably better than heretofore admitted.”

    Courtenay Harding and John Strauss: “We have gathered some evidence that the course of schizophrenia is a more complex dynamic and heterogeneous process than has heretofore been appreciated or predicted by diagnostic specificity.”

    Gerd Huber: “Schizophrenia does not seem to be a disease of slow progressive deterioration. Even in the second and third decades of illness, there is still the potential for full or partial recovery.”

    Myth-Busting: Schizophrenia is Incurable

    “…85% of our clients (all diagnosed as severely schizophrenic) at the Diabasis center not only improved, with no medications, but most went on growing after leaving us.”

    Dr. John Weir Perry

    Ongoing research shows that over 80% of those treated with the approach return to work and over 75% show no residual signs of psychosis. Official government statistics comparing 22 health districts in Finland found that Dr. Seikulla’s district was the only one not to have any new chronic hospital patients in a two year period.

    Dr. Jaakko Seikkula [Re: Open Dialogue Treatment]

  • I need some help.My name is Margaret Burton. I am a personal care home consultant in metro atlanta georgia. I work with many clients who have diagnoses of schizophrenia & bipolar. Most of the facilities won’t accept the age group of 18-24. I am trying to change that. I am trying to open a facility geared specifically to that age group. These young adults are discharged from hospitals to homeless shelters. They are not recieving care in a homeless shelter. This is very close to my heart since my son who is 19 yrs old was diagnosed last year with schizophrenia. I have been in & out of hospitals since last year. I know the difficulty of trying to locate a decent living facility. If there is anyone out there with resources to help me please email me. We have got to prevent these young adults from being Homeless. Email Thank you

Tony Brown, BA, EMT

Tony Brown, BA, EMT, graduated cum laude from Harvard University. He served as an EMT in the US Army stationed in Germany.

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