Do Rebels Who Defy Treatment Do Better? (“non-compliance” often saves us)

From Mad in America, Bruce Levine shares an article about the many people who recover from psychosis and schizophrenia against all expectations from psychiatry. He looks at the Harrow and Jobe study to support his own experience, that of knowing hundreds of such recovered folks.

Anti-Authoritarians and Schizophrenia: Do Rebels Who Defy Treatment Do Better?

If my sole experience of people who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia was purely a clinical one, I too would be wary of them going off their medication, and I too would have a far less hopeful view of the possibility of recovery. One of my earliest professional positions was as a psychiatric emergency room therapist where I saw many patients who were agitated and acting bizarrely and who were dragged into the hospital by police and family. These patients were diagnosed with schizophrenia, schizoffective disorder, or some other psychotic disorder. Most of them would in fact calm down after being given medication, and so it is common for police, family, and mental health professionals to view being “off one’s meds” as problematic.

Many mental health professionals, myself included, have seen psychotic relapse among diagnosed schizophrenics who have been “medication noncompliant.” But professionals ordinarily don’t compare this group to those “medication compliant” patients who also relapse or remain chronically psychotic. And most importantly, in their clinical practice, mental health professionals do not routinely see diagnosed schizophrenics who have recovered without medication and without doctors.

Outside of my practice, I have come to know this group of diagnosed schizophrenics who have long-term recovery without medication. In his research, Harrow discovered them as well and states, “For most SZ [schizophrenia patients] not on medications or not in treatment this was their choice, at times against professional advice.” It is my experience that those who have rejected medication and recovered are virtually all anti-authoritarians who question the legitimacy of authorities and resist those authorities they assess to be illegitimate ones. (read the rest)

Lots of people have recovered from what is labeled schizophrenia and other psychotic phenomena. I too, now, know hundreds of such people as well as myself. We cannot continue treatment as usual once we know this reality. The drugs used to treat  people with these diagnosis are highly toxic leading to all sorts of disease as well as seeming to impede any hope for recovery in some people. People who take these medications also die 25 years earlier on average!!

Take a moment to consider Western Lapland Finland where the recovery rate for psychotic disorders is 80 to 95%: How to Empty Psych Beds Everywhere

And there are many recovery stories on this blog of such strong spirited individuals too: Psychosis Recovery

Lastly remember the film I shared with you the other day? That’s Crazy? About force in psychiatric treatment? People who intuite that they might do better without drugs are actually treated worse than criminals routinely in this country. Yes, the United States. If you didn’t see the post on That’s Crazy, please view it now.  That’s crazy: powerful documentary on the coercive nature of psychiatry.

Update: the film is now available for sale at the website.

See also: Coercion, subtle or otherwise, is the rule in psychiatric care…

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*it is potentially dangerous to come off medications without careful planning. Please be sure to be well educated before undertaking any sort of discontinuation of medications. If your MD agrees to help you do so, do not assume they know how to do it well even if they claim to have experience. They are generally not trained in discontinuation and may not know how to recognize withdrawal issues. A lot of withdrawal issues are misdiagnosed to be psychiatric problems. This is why it’s good to educate oneself and find a doctor who is willing to learn with you as your partner in care.  Really all doctors should always be willing to do this as we are all individuals and need to be treated as such. See: Psychiatric drug withdrawal and protracted withdrawal syndrome round-up

It’s become clear to me that whenever it’s possible that it’s helpful for folks who’ve not begun withdrawal and have the time to consider a carefully thought out plan to attempt to bring greater well-being to your body before starting the withdrawal. That means learning how to profoundly nourish your body/mind and spirit prior to beginning a withdrawal. For suggestions on how to go about doing that check the drop-down menus on this blog for ideas. Anything that helps you learn how to live well can be part of your plan. That plan will look different for everyone as we learn to follow our hearts and find our own unique paths in the world. Things to begin considering are diet, exercise and movement, meditation/contemplation etc. Paying attention to all these things as you do them helps too. The body will start letting us know what it needs as we learn to pay attention. 

For a multitude of ideas about how to create a life filled with safe alternatives to psychiatric drugs visit the drop-down menus at the top of this page or scroll down the homepage for more recent postings. 

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About Monica Cassani

Author/Editor Beyond Meds: Everything Matters