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  • Is the cure for schizophrenia worse than the disease asked the father of American psychopharmacology

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    Wednesday, June 22, 2016 11:11 am Email this article

    In an interview that Robert Whitaker did in Salon, he noted that,

    In the late 1970s, Jonathan Cole — the father of American psychopharmacology — wrote a paper called “Is the Cure Worse Than the Disease?” that signaled that antipsychotics weren’t the lifesaving drugs that people had hoped.

    In it, he reviewed all of the long-term harm the drugs could cause and observed that studies had shown that at least 50 percent of all schizophrenia patients could fare well without the drugs.

    He wrote, “Every schizophrenic outpatient maintained on antipsychotic medication should have the benefit of an adequate trial without drugs.”

    This would save many from the dangers of tardive dyskinesia — involuntary body movements — as well as the financial and social burdens of prolonged drug therapy.

    The title of the paper poignantly sums up the awful long-term paradox.

    Abram Hoffer, MD, PhD, who used large doses of niacin to treat schizophrenia, also wrote about this many years ago, noting that schizophrenics do better in countries where they don’t use drugs than in countries where they do use drugs.

    Robert Whitaker’s Book

    Robert Whitaker is the author of the wonderful book Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America .

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