Dr. Weeks’ Comment: Robert Whittaker is a courageous writer and his response to the blaming of this grieving mother is excellent. His slides are worth a careful review.
“My presentation at NAMI was titled “A Case for Selective Use of Antipsychotics.” You can see in the title the point of my presentation: It is stating that science is telling us that the best use of these drugs would involve using them in a selective manner (i.e. in a way that sorts out who benefits from them and who can do okay without them.) It is an argument for amending our current drug-use protocols, which emphasize continual drug maintenance for all patients with a diagnosis for a psychotic disorder. Instead, we would use them in a way that science tells us could markedly improve recovery rates.
You can see my NAMI slides here. Readers can see that basically what I do in the presentation is this: I review the extensive evidence, stretching across fifty years of research, that supports two conclusions. The first is that there is a significant percentage of first-episode patients who, if they were provided with psychosocial care (and possibly made use of benzodiazepines for sleep purposes), could recover from a psychotic episode without being exposed to antipsychotics, and that this group could then be expected to have favorable long-term outcomes. The second is that there is a significant percentage of patients who, after being stabilized on antipsychotics, could then successfully withdraw from the drugs and do fairly well off them long term. However, that still leaves a place for prescribing the drugs: They could be used to help some patients recover from an initial episode, and they could be continually prescribed to those patients who can’t seem to do well off them.”
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