Action for Mental Health: Final Report, 1961

By Joint Commission on Mental Illness and Health | Go to book overview
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Treatment and Its Results

UP TO THIS POINT, we have spoken with the assumption in mind that many patients—known in other times as madmen, maniacs, and lunatics and still known to laymen as insane, but diagnosed by doctors as "psychotic"—can be helped to lead useful, satisfying lives if treated in a humane and rational manner. Palpably, if this assumption is untrue then we have no immediate incentive for efforts to reduce lag and accelerate progress. Even if true, it requires documentation in this text. As we ponder the inadequacy of financial support, we suspect the assumption likewise remains to be proved to the general public. Moreover, many mental health workers themselves require reassurance that there is a sound basis for an optimistic attitude toward psychotics.

Actually, though desirable, it is not crucially important in demonstrating need of greater support to show good results in the psychiatric treatment of psychotics. It would be possible to emphasize the need for more knowledge and to wage a large and well-rounded public campaign for support of scientific research and professional education as well as the associated patient-care services while taking substantially negative results as a point of departure. For example, surgeons commonly have reported the curative outlook for persons with lung and stomach cancers at the time the disease comes to surgical attention as in the range of 5 to 15 per cent. Our colleagues in surgery make no bones about such statistics, but record them, publish percentages of "five-year cures," and find professional satisfaction in each percentage point of gain.

The typical patient with a functional psychosis (so called because


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Action for Mental Health: Final Report, 1961


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