Just say “No” to Drugs
15-Year Follow-Up Schizophrenia Study: No Drugs = Better Chance at Recovery
Recent public disclosures about the harmful effects of FDA-approved psychotropic drugs and corroborating evidence from patient outcome and mortality studies reveal that psychiatry’s fixation on drugs as the treatment of choice is a toxic prescription for debilitating adverse effects; an impediment to recovery; and premature death.
A 15-year prospective follow-up study compared recovery outcomes in schizophrenia patients treated with antipsychotics and those untreated or treated without drugs was just re-published in the Journal of Nervous and Mental Diseases (May 2007).  It was funded by the US Public Health Service and the National Institute of Mental Health.
The findings from this 15-year study confirm previous international outcome studies : 40% of patients diagnosed with schizophrenia who were NOT on antipsychotic drugs showed periods of recovery and better global functioning compared to only 5% of patients taking anti-psychotics (p=.001). “These analyses indicated that in addition to the significant differences in global functioning between these groups, 19 of the 23 schizophrenia patients (83%) with uniformly poor outcome at the 15-year follow-ups were on antipsychotic medications.”
The indisputably significant findings from this 15-year prospective study provide documented evidence for the overthrow of psychiatry’s harm producing, drug-focused paradigm of care. This paradigm condemns people to chronic disability impeding rather than fostering recovery.
The investigators, Martin Harrow, PhD. and Thomas Jobe, MD, Department of Psychiatry, at the University of Illinois, Chicago, evaluated the outcome of 145 patients with a DSM-III psychiatric diagnosis, including 64 with schizophrenia and a control sample of 81 nonschizophrenia patients. Patients were evaluated on premorbid variables, assessed prospectively at index hospitalization, and then followed up 5 times over a period of 15 years (at 2 years following hospitalization, 4.5 years, 7.5 years, 10 years and 15 year). At each follow-up, patients were compared on symptoms and global outcome. One hundred and ten of the 145 patients (75.9%) were evaluated at all 5 follow-ups over the 15 years, and another 23 patients (15.9%) were evaluated at 4 of the 5 follow-ups. In controlled clinical trials the drop out rate in short 6 week studies is 65% and more, in the CATIE study the drop out was 74%. Thus, the significance of the findings of this naturalistic study is enormous.
The investigators addressed the following clinically significant issues:
- In a naturalistic research design, which includes patients in treatment and those not in treatment, can schizophrenia patients not on antipsychotics function better and show periods of recovery?
- Which particular types of schizophrenia patients go off medications for a prolonged period, and do factors associated with this influence subsequent outcome and recovery?
- Do schizophrenia patients who do not remain on medications differ in (a) premorbid developmental achievements and (b) prognostic potential or in personality and attitudinal factors?
Best recovery outcomes were demonstrated by patients who had stopped taking antipsychotic drugs-and they showed significantly better global functioning than those who continued to be treated with antipsychotics at 4 of the 5 follow-ups (p=<.001) Curiously, an earlier version of the study was published in the Schizophrenia Bulletin in 2005, but the findings were largely ignored, no doubt, because they pose a financial threat to the pharmaceutical-dominated psychiatric establishment. 
The findings confirm that the poor outcome findings in the CATIE study, which assessed only patients on antipsychotic drugs, are due mainly to the drugs’ ill effects. [ Link]
The poor recovery of patients treated with antipsychotic drugs goes a long way in explaining a recent analysis of government mortality data. It shows that patients treated in the American mental health system die 25 years prematurely. 
At this juncture, a compelling body of evidence documents psychiatry’s colossal failure:
- A series of international studies consistently show that patients taking antipsychotics have worse clinical outcomes than those who do not. 
- U.S. government sponsored studies: –Schizophrenia CATIE study reported that 74% of patients couldn’t tolerate the antipsychotics and dropped out within 18months; –An analysis of mortality rates among patients in 8 state mental health systems reveals that their lives are cut short by 25 years.
- Evidence from secret company documents uncovered during civil liability suits and state Attorneys General lawsuits provide evidence of the drugs’ debilitating effects.
When added up the harm produced by the drug-centered treatment paradigm is a public health catastrophe whose magnitude is comparable to a pandemic-millions of people-including children and the elderly-have suffered harm from FDA-licensed psychotropic drugs. [ For a sample of recent living testimonials, go to http://ahrp.blogspot.com/2007/05/15-year-follow-up-schizophrenia-study.html]
The cumulative evidence is indisputable: the drugs cause harm without any credible demonstrable benefit-and without a scientific rationale. Psychiatrist Kenneth Kendler, co-editor-in-chief of Psychological Medicine, acknowledged (2005): “We [psychiatrists] have hunted for big, simple neuropathological explanations for psychiatric disorders and have not found them. We have hunted for big, simple neurochemical explanations for psychiatric disorders and have not found them. We have hunted for big, simple genetic explanations for psychiatric disorders and have not found them” (pp. 434-435).
Despite the lack of clear evidence for neuropathological, neurochemical, or genetic explanations for psychiatric disorders, the beliefs in such are heavily perpetuated by psychopharmacologists and physiological psychiatrists who are heavily invested in the drugs and their industry benefactors. Psychotropic drugs that have consistently been shown to cause ham-to impede rather than improve patient recovery-and to undermine vital physiological function of hormonal, endocrine, cardiovascular systems. The body of evidence should give Congress pause about its misallocation of public funds-harmful treatments should not be subsidized by taxpayers.  [ Link]
A superb critical review of the published disconfirming literature of psychopharmacology, written by psychiatrists and neuroscientists whose criticism of currently held beliefs about mental illness and the paradigm of treatment, are mostly drowned out by this industry-dominated field. Dr. Thomas Murray, Director of Counseling at North Carolina School of the Arts, calls upon the counseling profession to “be cautious about supporting the psychiatric-medical model, or any model, when it is not prepared to produce its own body of research to test the assumptions of that model.” He encourages counselors to “get a balanced view about psychopharmacology and the medical-model in general.to call into question the uses of technology (e.g., brain scans), research methodology, and treatment efficacy of these medications based on the examination of the existing research. Specifically, I suggest counselors investigate rigorously the uses and consequences of these medications regardless of their support or skepticism.” 
And most importantly, Murray admonishes counselors to “examine the consequences and the impact of associating with and imposing particular assumptions about the biological etiology of mental disorders on clients without evidence that such approach serves their best interest.”
- Martin Harrow, PhD, and Thomas H. Jobe, MD. Factors Involved in Outcome and Recovery in Schizophrenia Patients Not on Antipsychotic Medications: A 15-Year Multifollow-Up Study, The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, Vol. 195, No. 5, May 2007 [ Link]
- Lehtinen V, Aaltonen J, Koffert T. Two-year outcome in first-episode psychosis treated according to an integrated model. European Psychiatry 15 (2000):312-20; Lehtinen K. Finnish needs-adapted project: 5-year outcomes. Madrid Spain, World Psychiatric Association International Congress, 2001; Seikkula J, Aaltonen J, Alakare B. Five-year experience of first-episode nonaffective psychosis in open-dialogue approach. Psychotherapy Research 16/2 (2006): 214-228; Leff J, Sartorius N, Koren A, Ernberg G. The International Pilot Study of Schizophrenia. Pscyhological Medicine 22 (1992): 131-45; Jablensky A, Sartorius N, Ernberg G, Ansker M. Schizophrenia: manifestations, incidence and course in different cultures. Psycghological Medicine 20, monograph supplement (1992):1-95.
- Colton CW, Manderscheid RW. Congruencies in increased mortality rates, years of potential life lost, and causes of death among public mental health clients in eight states. Prevalence Chronic Disability, April 2006. [ Link] See also: Mentally ill die 25 years earlier, on average By Marilyn Elias, USA TODAY, May 3, 2007 [ Link]
- Martin Harrow, Linda S. Grossman,3 Thomas H. Jobe,4 and Ellen S. Herbener. Do Patients with Schizophrenia Ever Show Periods of Recovery? A 15-Year Multi-Follow-up Study, Schizophrenia Bulletin vol. 31 no. 3 pp. 723-734, 2005.
- Gianluca Trifiro` MD, Katia M. C. et at All-cause mortality associated with atypical and typical antipsychotics in demented outpatients, Pharmacoepidemiology and drug safety 2007; 16: 538-544. . See also, a series of investigative reports in the national press documenting the harm producing effects of psychotropic drugs-in particular the antipsychotics: USA TODAY: New antipsychotic drugs carry risks for children 5/2/2006 [ Link] Boston Globe: Bipolar labels for children stir concern Hull case highlights debate on diagnosis Rebecca Riley’s parents are accused of deliberately poisoning her with her prescription medication. February 15, 2007 [ Link] THE NEW YORK TIMES: Psychiatrists, Children and Drug Industry’s Role May 10, 2007 [ Link] l; USA TODAY: Mentally ill die 25 years earlier, on average. May 3, 2007 [ Link]
- Kendler, K. S. (2005). Toward a philosophical structure for psychiatry. American Journal of Psychiatry, 162, 433-440.
- Robert Whitaker, Mad in America, Perseus, 2002; Anatomy of an Epidemic: Psychiatric Drugs and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America. Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry, Vol.7, No. I, Spring 2005 online at: [ Link]
- Thomas L. Murray, Jr. The Other Side of Psychopharmacology: A Review of the Literature Journal of Mental Health Counseling, Vol. 28/No. 4/October 2006/Pages 309-337.