Reasons for Optimism on Schizophrenia

Dr. Courtenay Harding, from the University of Colorado has written an article for ACTA PSYCHIATRICA SCANDINAVICA titled "Empirical Correction of Seven Myths About Schizophrenia with Implications for Treatment." Here are the myths - and the reality.

1. Once a schizophrenic always a schizophrenic.

Reality: Ever widening heterogeneity of outcome across time.

2. A schizophrenic is a schizophrenic is a schizophrenic.

Reality: Wide individual heterogeneity within the diagnostic category.

3. Rehabilitation can be provided only after stabilization.

Reality: Rehabilitation should begin on day 1.

4. Why bother with psychotherapy for schizophrenia ?

Reality: Supportive psychotherapy is crucial for integrating the experience and enhancing continued adult development.

5. Patients must be on medication all their lives.

Reality: It may be a small percentage who need medication all their lives.

6. People with schizophrenia cannot do anything except low-level jobs.

Reality: People with schizophrenia canm and do perform at every level of work.

7. Families are the etiological agents.

Reality: Families as collaborators can provide critical information and provide environments to lower a relative's vulnerability to episodes.

Dr. Harding and her co-author James H. Zahniser conclude:
" A longitudinal perspective about schizophrenia should imbue
everyone with a renewed sense of optimism. After studying
508 patients across 22 years, Huber and colleagues stated
that ' schizophrenia does not seem to be a disease of slow,
progressive deterioration. Even in the second and third
decades of illness, there is still potential for full or partial



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