Recovery from Schizophrenia: Psychiatry and Political Economy

Recovery from Schizophrenia: Psychiatry and Political Economy

Recovery from Schizophrenia: Psychiatry and Political Economy

Recovery from Schizophrenia: Psychiatry and Political Economy

Synopsis

Recovery from Schizophrenia , from its first publication, was acclaimed as a work of major importance. It demonstrated convincingly, but controversially, how political, economic and labour market forces shape social responses to the mentally ill, mould psychiatric treatment philosophy, and influence the onset and course of one of the most common forms of mental illness. In this revised and updated third edition, Dr Warner analyses the latest research to extend the conclusions of the original work and tells us whether conditions and outcomes for people with schizophrenia are getting better or worse for people in Britain and America in recent years. In addition, he * critiques recent approaches to preventing the occurrence of schizophrenia * suggests innovative strategies for advancing the economic situation of people with mental illness * describes the latest advances in the rehabilitation of people with schizophrenia * provides a guide on how to combat the stigma of mental illness at local and national level. Recovery from Schizophrenia 's radical analysis of the factors affecting the outcome of schizophrenia is essential reading for all psychiatrists, mental health professional, mental health advocates, social workers, rehabilitation personnel, and psychologists.

Excerpt

Does the way we make our living or the level of economic development of our country affect whether or not we become mentally ill? Does social class or the state of the economy influence whether people with schizophrenia recover from their illness? Has industrial development affected the number of people with schizophrenia who become permanently and severely disabled-lost to their families, costly to the community and leading lives of emptiness and degradation? These questions are at the heart of this book.

My original intent was to uncover what the natural course of schizophrenia had been before the antipsychotic drugs were introduced, but this simple goal led to the realization that some current beliefs about the illness, widely accepted in psychiatry, are not accurate. We may well have been too pessimistic about the course of untreated schizophrenia and overconfident about the benefits of modern treatment. The antipsychotic drugs, it emerges, have not appreciably improved the long-term outcome from the illness; these drugs alone did not unlock the doors of our mental institutions and make possible the community treatment of people with psychosis. Despite a massive annual investment in the treatment of schizophrenia, the outcome from the illness in modern industrial society is no better than in the Third World.

Each change in our treatment approach to schizophrenia, moreover, is not necessarily an advance. A treatment method of demonstrated effectiveness-moral management-was laid to rest in the mid-nineteenth century only to be resurrected in a similar form nearly a hundred years later. Much of what today is called community treatment is, in fact, the antithesis of treatment; people suffering from psychosis are consigned to a sordid, impoverished existence in which even basic needs, such as food and shelter, are not met. To understand how such aberrations and misconceptions have come about, to appreciate what has shaped the course and occurrence of schizophrenia, and to see what has molded psychiatric ideology and the social response to the person with schizophrenia, we need to step outside psychiatry. We have to venture into the territory of the sociologist, the anthropologist and the historian; we must enter the province of epidemiologists, social psychologists, economists and political scientists.

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