Okay, this floored me. Anyone who lives in the United States knows that in our country, anti-psychotic meds are considered the first line of attack against schizophrenia. Yes, #1. But is conventional wisdom wise?
There is a groundswell of research that questions the long-term use of antipsychotic medications to treat schizophrenia, research from such sources as the World Health Organization, Boston University, and the University of Pennsylvania (Penn). Even a study done by the prescription drug giant, Eli Lilly, corroborated the idea that the long-term treatment of the population as a whole with antipsychotic medications resulted in poorer outcomes — again, for the entire population.
Boston University’s Courtenay Harding said it best when she told the APA Monitor that it was a “myth” that people with schizophrenia “must be on medication all their lives.”
This research (links provided below) indicates that as an aggregate (whole), the population of people with schizophrenia has better outcomes when treated selectively and cautiously. And this is precisely what is happening in countries (e.g. parts of Finland) that treat the schizophrenic population in such a manner. Although seemingly reluctant, NIMH Director Thomas Insel also acknowledges that antipsychotics may worsen long-term outcomes. I could summarize the research further; however, I’d rather let you decide for yourself.
As a final note, I want to make it clear that I do not promote going off of your meds. Although this is in my opinion definitely food for thought, these studies are studies of aggregates (groups of people), not individuals. What may be good for the majority may not be good for you.
This is not an attempt to get people to stop taking their meds. I take meds and I do not plan on stopping them. However, I am going to do more research on this subject and keep an open dialogue with my treatment team regarding my options. In other words, I’m not going to stop taking my meds, not cold turkey and not in any fashion in the foreseeable future. This is a topic I will keep my eye on in the months and years to come. And if I decide to go off of my meds, I will most likely taper off slowly and will definitely do it under the guidance of my treatment team.
Perhaps, this is something to share with your treatment team. That is the reason I posted this.
So here are some links for you:
A Schizophrenia Mystery Solved?
Do Antipsychotics Worsen Long-term Schizophrenia Outcomes?
At the end of the second article, there are links to more sources.
Something to think about.