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New Evidence That Long Term Reliance On Antipsychotic Medication May Impair Recovery

 Many of you have probably been aware of two prior World Health Organization (WHO) studies that showed almost twice the recovery rates from “schizophrenia” in developing countries as in developed countries.  While critics of current psychiatric practice attributed the better outcome in developing countries to the fact that most were not on medication, others suggested that cultural factors were mostly responsible for the better outcomes.

A new study though, that looked only at people on medication in a wide variety of countries, found little difference in outcome between developing and developed countries.  While not noted in the article, this apparently provides new backing for those who would maintain that it was the greater use of antipsychotic medication in developed countries that resulted in the greatly reduced recovery rates in those first two studies. 

For those who want to know more about the assertion that long term use of antipsychotics is highly detrimental to real recovery and contributes to long term disability, this issue is covered in depth in Robert Whitaker’s new book, Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America

5 comments… add one
  • I think the original study was accurate. I’m withdrawing from anti-psychotics and feel fine. I wonder though, if I had better coping skills and focused on that instead of medication I might have recovered sooner.
    Then, I still grew plenty while taking medication, and I don’t entirely take an anti-medication stance. I feel that although medications can help, it should be a really last resort option. I also feel labels don’t define your condition as much as we think. Like, they are just catagorized experiences, that’s not science…well, even if it was an exact science- I still wouldn’t agree, I’m too opposed to rigid scientific analysis- I’m more spiritual. I believe there are reasons for most everything. Can anti-psychotics damage you, though? I mean, biologicaly/or cause brain damage. I hope they dont. Going over memories, I wonder where it all went wrong- I freaked people out because I spoke in full sentences at 6 months! Ask my parents. I’m weird.

  • A important area of consideration is left not-refered-to here; and I cannot understand how this can be so since the left-out topics-of-great-relevance to the subject(s) at hand – have been repeatedly bought to you, Ron, and to others with whom you regularly associate, and given to you and them in both conversation, speeches made at meetings and as written documents handed personally. Plus you live in the same Town as Eva Edelman author of Natural Healing for Bipolar.

    One of the first things a person who is interested and studied in these matters would naturally have come to mind in relation to these WHO studies showing that people generally do better long-term in countries that could not or would not give people endless maintenance drugging as “the treatment,” is the related studies on comparisons of national diets and of chemical-biological tested statuses, that relate to these differences in outcomes and prevalence.

    Malcolm Peet and S.P. Mahadik, Meena Arvindakshan, Joe Hibbeln, David Horrobin, M.D. and the Weston Price Foundation address the biochemical-health-differences in people in countries that have a lot of processed food, sugar and pollution – and related Inflammation, Oxidative Stress, Excitotoxicity Nutrient Deficiency, Allergy and breaking-down-biochemisty-biophysiology and countries on the “developing country”list which have less sugar and damaged fat consumpsion – less over processed foods, and cigarettes to consume.

    The Malcolm Peet Report – International variations in the outcomes of schizophrenia and the prevalence of depression in relation to national dietary practices – an ecological analysis is so intensely relevant to what you are writing here that I cannot see how you can personally deal with leaving it out or why you would do this. Peet references DOSMED and the IPSS, along with other relevant studies of importance to compresension.

    These things are still commonly available information to people who have an interest in advocating for improving health care. SAFE HARBOR project provides support to MindFreedom which has a headquarters in town and with which you have participated in undertakings. As a house divided falls, and as it is socially and psychologically abusive to exclude people – and their Very Names – it is encumbent on you not to leave out references in your articles, conversations, meetings, events and “footnotes and indexes” to names, words, ideas, essays, actions, conferences and reports that come from these important and relevant people. Remember SAFE HARBOR, and speak well of Malcolm Peet’s scholarship. Acting consistently as if they never existed is a profoundly strange aggressive group of on-going actions to commit yourself to.

    Why not browse some reports at Safe Harbor and so forth and make references to these peoples Names, articles, Books and theraputic concepts when they are exceedingly relevant and of vital importance? It is not just the scholarly thing to do, you are representing to people far and wide that you offer them helpful information that is pointedly denied them elsewhere. Your above statements appear thoughful reasonable and pursaisive – for people who know what you are chosing to omit, to exclude, the endeavor seems starnge, sad and hostile. An opportunity lost. An exclusion of voice. Not just others, who, I mention some of whom by name… but, on a personal note, my own.

    • Hi Dan,

      I can’t recommend my site as a complete guide to all the ideas about psychosis and recovery, it is really just a bout the ones I have looked into in some detail. And while I generally advocate for a healthy diet for people having problems with psychosis, and for consuming Omega 3 fatty acids, I have never really taken time to sort out the useful information from the hype when it comes to what diet supplements and such that might be helpful with psychosis. I know you do look into this and are very convinced it is helpful, but I just haven’t done my homework in this area (having access to a body of literature is different than having time to read through it & seriously consider it!) So I’m not trying to exclude any group or body of information, and I’m glad there are people looking into it, but I don’t have much of a position on nutritional issues because I just don’t know enough.

      I think it’s not just me but most all of those involved in psychosocial approaches to psychosis who don’t much mention nutritional approaches, with the exception sometimes of Omega 3’s. I don’t know all the dynamics behind that – is it just competitiveness with a different ideology, or is it because many of the nutritional studies don’t meet scientific standards? I know some who would say the latter, but I haven’t looked into it closely.

      What would you say is the best study or set of studies on a nutritional approach to psychosis? How would one find out more about it? What do you know about why this study has been ignored?

      As for the nutritional issues explaining the higher recovery rates found in the third world, I suppose they might have something to do with it, but I’m not sure how that would explain the newer study referenced above that found that people in developing countries that did stay on antipsychotic medications had the same dismally low rates of recovery as people staying on medications in developed countries.

  • Ah, so there it is. Corroboration!
    Thanks I needed that.
    When I wrote a report to my psychotherapist about my marvelous fantastic quick cure he later rebuked me in passing in the hallway.
    “Three to Four years!”, he exclaimed! “This is not quick!”

    I later realized that my initial progress was impeded by remaining on full medication, in fact my progress only began when I accidentally reduced my medications for an extended period through oversleeping and missing my schedule.
    So I was initially over medicated – that definitely impeded my progress. If I could direct my therapy form a future time warp, I would only require a short initiation period in therapy to get used to the routine before work actually began. Hindsight is wonderful, of course.

    But secondly, I just know form my direct experience, is that killing the symptoms kills the person. The symptoms are not superfluous, they are the self that needs to transform, they cannot be left behind or excised. Moderated perhaps, but not excised.
    So meds KILL if overused and there is not natural process allowed or psycho-social applied. They kill, though you can’t see the body, because the hollowed out husk is still walking around,.
    It’s the reason why most SZ and others don’t want to take meds from the beginning. They have a feeling of a psychological problem and they want that problem solved. If only meds are offered, of course they understand the problem is not being addressed.

  • Ron Unger, “I’m not trying to exclude any group or body of information”
    “What would you say is the best study or set of studies on a nutritional approach to psychosis?”

    Orthomolecular Medicine is online at It is their field. They gave birth to it.

    When the drug companies and Psychiatry leaders all agreed that the Neuropsychopharmacology Fraud would continue for 6 decades of ever increasing profit they did so knowingly and they took actions.

    Thorazine and ECT were somewhat effective for Psychosis. This success of chemotherapy, along with the meteoric advances in biochemistry, lead to Doctor Abram Hoffer and Dr. Humphrey Osmond – the founding fathers of Orthomolecular – to immediately be investigating biochemical causes and biochemical treatments in Psychosis. Abram Hoffer, M.D. was given grant money the Rockefeller Foundation on condition he tour Europes best facilities.

    By immediately I mean they were starting this circa 1956 immediately upon the heals of the the fact that the other psychiatrists and drug company leaders were totally realizing that they had hit a Gold Mine with Thorazine – the implications were setting in that patented drugging agents were the Golden road to unlimited fortunes.

    Ten years later, in 1967 the concientious intellegent doctors in Psychiatry were well on their way being the leadership of biochemical psychiatry, creating the cutting edge of knowledge and practice. At this time instead of encorporating the work it was left side by side with other work. While 1967 was the cut off year, Psychiatry’s leadership was cut off from publication in the Psychiatry’s Journals and in the own University Journals by 1967.

    In 1973 the drug company/APA NIMH Psychiatry/ ACNP Neuropharmacology people orchestrated a document called the Task Force #7 Report to the American Psychiatric Association on Orthomolecular Therapy. This infamous 58 page hatchet job is remeniscent of the 1910 Flexner Report to the Carnegee Corporation on the State of Medcial education in Canada and the USA used to cease control of Medicine. It declared Orthomolecular invalid for all time. (“nutritional studies don’t meet scientific standards? I know some who would say the latter”) They stated that Peer reveiw by really qualified scientists attempting to reproduce the results should that they unscientific.

    The people on the Orthomolecular team by 1973 included the premere biochemist of the United States of Amercia Linus Pauling. (His report On the Orthomolecular Environment of the Mind at Orthomed online contains his responce to the Task Force #7 report of 1973)

    The Task Force #7 Report used a Psychosocial Theorist named Dr. Loren Mosher who had prior stated that if all other psychiatrists in the country endorced Orthomolecular he would still be against it. He was one of their unbiased objective scientific panelists! They selected him and used him. This as if Psychiatry would continue in the fashion it seemed to be in the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s. Sort of like Dudley Moore in the movie Lovesick, Psychiatrists would have some pills to give out or take… but they did talk therapy, they were post Freudian types.

    After the Industry leaders used the psychosocial mileau theorist Loren Mosher to aid them in that operation, (eliminating the legitimate chemotherapy researchers and clinicians, erasing them from the scene as ‘disproved) – they had another couple operations going at the same time. They started work on DSM3 in 1974.

    With DSM3 they eliminated all the post Freudian jargon everyone was using. They brought forth their “Medical Model” mind control gambit here with. Now they would be real Doctors and prescribe medication for “illness” – well defined categorical labels.

    With a Psychiatrist named Donald F. Klein, M.D. certainly there amonst the Leaders they established the mind control that characterizes Psychiatry now: to wit, Diagnosis is done by Psychological Means… word tests… psychometric tests…. as passed down from on high from the leadershop such as Professor Donald F. Klein, M.D.

    and likewse Treatment is Medical using Psychopharmacological Drugging Agents. (Patented.) “Meds.”

    In 1979 NAMI was put together. There were antipsychiatry organizations called NAMP and NAPA. NAMI is a false front organization created by the Leadership to pretend to represent the best interests of people from a neutral position of being a Grassroots family organization. NAMI propaganda told parents that their children were not the result of bad parenting as the bad old Psychiatrists of yester year might have said, that instead modern scientific Psychiatrist (as with the DSM 3) knew scientifically that the mental patients were fundamentally differest from everyone else (DSM diagnosis) they were sick and in need of (patent drugging) Medication to keep everyone safe.

    Then for decades they would keep refering the the Task Force #7 as having disproven the chemical treatment. They would keep saiying more and more things were diseases, illness, abnormailities, deviences (whatever) disorders that should be non-medically diagnosed and medically treated. They would keep suppressing medical treatments.

    Continuing to play Psychosocial theorists. They could have the appearence of dialogue. But the desenting camp put into marginal visibility would be unknowingly (some) and intentionally (others) seperated from connection to the (also) suppressed chemical treatment people (Orthomed) swept under the rug at the starting bell.

    Even though Dr. Loren Mosher’s involvment was in 1973, more than 35 years later! More than 30 years since Psychological Psychiatry itself was explicitly betrayed! You still can’t put together the peices that the Drug Company leadership broke for you.

    So here you all are living in the same town as Eva Edelman author of Nataural healing for Schizophrenia 2001 and Natural Healing for Bipolar 2009. She fairly recently had converesation with the late Dr. Abram Hoffer who wrote the forward to both her books. If you threw a rock you could probably hit her.

    I recommend reading books by the late great Carl. C. Pfeiffer, Ph.D., M.D. The Schizophrenias: Ours to Conquer, Nutrition and Mental Illness, and The Schizophrenia’s Yours and Mine.

    In Christmas 2000 Dr. Abram Hoffer, M.D., Ph.D. replied to my E-mailed question on if there had been any advancement in the system of diagnosis and characterization of the biotypes, in Orthomolecular, since Carl C. Pfeiffer, Ph.D., M.D. that there was none. Carl C. Pfeiffer, Ph.D., M.D. brought biochemical Medicine in Psychiatry to its modern state.

    TA Ban, “neuropsychopharmacology” “dedicated to the study of mental pathology with the employment of centrally acting drugs.”

    “Developments in pharmacotherapy, psychopharmacology and neuropharmacology triggered the development of “neuro-psychopharmacology,” the scientific discipline dedicated to the study and treatment of the pathophysiology of mental syndromes with the employment of centrally acting drugs. The new discipline has grown on the premise that neuropharmacological studies of the mode of action of psychotropic drugs with well-defined therapeutic indications can generate knowledge that will guide preclinical and clinical research in developing more selective pharmacological treatments for mental illness.”

    You see Ron they have no interest in chemotherapy at the ACNP(leadership of Psychiatry), whether it works or is valid. Nothing they write, comment on or investigate ever has any bearin on such subjects. They are dedicated to Patented Psychopharmaceuticals, centralling acting drugs and that alone.

    Its the fix.

    If you or Robert Whitaker want to interest yourself you need to read things that are tremendously correlated with what you are saying such as the Malcolm Peet work that references DOSMED and IPSS.

    Ron you wriote, “I’m not sure how that would explain the newer study referenced above that found that people in developing countries that did stay on antipsychotic medications had the same dismally low rates of recovery as people staying on medications in developed countries,” I don’t see why you would write that there, Ron? You say they are taking dopamine 2 receptor blockade drugging agents – and they live in a poor country – and they have the same dismal result? What is to not understand about that Ron? If you want dietary differences or special counciling Psychotherapy or Open Dialogue to help people their brains can’t be gopped up with stuff that blockades brain signals in the volition area and expect them to see them do better. These Major Tranqillizers, like the minor tranqs, (IE, the GABA stimulany Benzos) are not supposed to given on an ongoing baisis. They are for short term use if at all. Here a legitimate Orthomolecular psychiatrist has an excellent article on this.

    Optimal Dosing for Schizophrenia
    Raymond J. Pataracchia, B.Sc., N.D.
    “Brain structure loss is one of the biggest and most significant ‘side-effects’ of neuroleptic treatment. Maintaining brain structure is an important part of the nutritional protocol for schizophrenic pathology.2 The natural course of this disease and neuroleptic exposure are both associated with brain structure compromise.”

    Dan Burdick, Eugene Oregon


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