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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Robert Whitaker - Mad in America and WHO

I admire immensely Robert Whitaker's work. I've been seeing some videos at Youtube and he says many important things. I didn't read "Mad in America" but I know it's a very good book because many people have published something about it here and there.
There is only one thing that is at his site that breaks my heart:

"Living in a developed country is a “strong predictor” that a person newly diagnosed with schizophrenia will never fully recover."
World Health Organization, 1992
"3. When the World Health Organization compared outcomes for schizophrenia patients in rich countries to those in poor countries, it determined that outcomes were much, much better in the poor countries. In the poor countries, the WHO reported, only 16% of patients were regularly maintained on antipsychotic drugs."

This data by WHO is far from Brazilian reality. I wrote to him back in 2005 and he was kind enough to answer me. The problem is WHO definitions on what is poor country and how was this outcome reached.
As far as Brazil is concerned all antipsychotic drugs are on the market for more than a decade.

6 comments:

Anonymous Drifter said...

I find this post interesting. Here in the west the odds of recovery from schizophrenia are deemed dependent upon compliance with taking medication. Many people with this illness claim their continued well being is due to their willingness to use antipsychotics. The streets seem to be filled with those who are non-compliant. As someone who has had a psychotic break herself I can honestly say that without the medication I would have committed suicide. Not just the "possibility" that it would have happened, this would have been a definite. I often wonder how these studies have come to their conclusions.

Ana said...

The opposite with me.
I don't need to take any psych-drug.
I was put on Klonopin and same years after I've searched for another psychiatrist to help me get out of this. He did put me on Tofranil that made me feel extremely anxious at a degree that another psychiatrist started prescribing me as if I was mentally ill sick.
I've been on Stelazine for a long time and took almost all drugs on the market.
Now I'm taking 200 mg Seroquel because I cannot stand withdrawal.
I withdrew 400 mg.
I have no idea why they did it.
I have no idea how WHO came up with this.
I don't know how can we put the category "poor" when we are dealing with psych drugs.
Something must be right about it because I don't believe that Robert Whitaker would use wrong data.

skywind said...

For this problem. I think that any country will have the mentally ill. Whether developed or underdeveloped countries. But also because of the economic crisis, I think the mentally ill in developed countries could increase.

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Ana said...

I'm not sure what kind of mental illness would economic change triggers.
People are loosing their jobs here and some are becoming homeless.
Families are having troubles...
Economics have a lot of impact in our lives.
Perhaps there is a differences in symptoms between those who are diagnosed schizophrenic in a rich country and those at a poor country. But they are prescribed the same drug and treatment.
The big issue we from poor countries have is that we don't have data to search.
We cannot count drug induced suicides or any other suicide.
Suicides are not on newspapers, not anywhere.

Naturagal said...

Anonymous Drifter,

If psychotropic drugs have helped you that is good. But for many, many people they have done more harm than good.

Ana said...

No. I was not helped by psych-drugs.
They destroyed my life.