Review: "New Approach Found to Ease Schizophrenia" – The New York Times
October 20, 2015
I found the article by Benedict Carey posted by The New York Times on Facebook. The thumbnail states "a landmark study found that a bigger emphasis on one-one-on talk therapy made greater strides in patient recovery than the usual drug-focused treatments."
I'm glad there are researchers out there who love research, statistics, double-blind tests, and placebos. I'm more of a clinician (aka using the scientific method on individualized mini-experiments) than a researcher (aka using the scientific method to generalize to a greater population). But studies like this kinda drive me nuts.
I encourage you to read the story yourself, but it's long been my take – and the take of many other medical professionals who work with schizophrenics – that psychosocial support is the key to decreasing relapses and negative outcomes. Sure, medications help keep people suffering from schizophrenia from decompensating, but guess what? If you don't have the psychosocial support – housing, transportation, understanding family, therapists to reinforce reality testing, counseling to build resilience – you'll stop your medicine and decompensate.
It drives me even more bonkers that the cost for treating schizophrenics is astronomical. Worse, that astronomical cost only includes medications and/or hospitalizations. The system does a terrible job (especially here in Texas) of funding the psychosocial support needed to appropriately treat the chronically mentally ill – which untreated or poorly-treated individuals with schizophrenia become. Making an authentic and adequate attempt to help people afflicted with a rare and terrible disease takes time, money, and effort. In our current system, we are forced to half-ass it because neither of those three requirements are readily accessible.
But P.S.Y.C.H. can take care of it. The rollout of Bridging P.S.Y.C.H. woukd include this vulnerable population in its program so as to minimize treatment disruptions, so that these people can live their best life. Bridging P.S.Y.C.H. provides its designated members with social work support, to check in and make sure they are attending to their needs before a crisis or subsequent relapse can occur. I based Bridging P.S.Y.C.H.'s unique approach on what our local community mental health agency does. But by making it a standard expectation that can actually be adequately funded, its effectiveness is increased exponentially.