Schizophrenia Treatment Policy - Soteria Option
This is not on many people's radars, but in fact about 1% of people around the world are diagnosed with schizophrenia. Nearly all schizophrenics in the US are treated with neuroleptics (developed as tranquilizers, now termed antipsychotics) which often have debilitating health consequences, both mentally and physically. In the 1970s Dr. Loren Mosher initiated an experimental program which he called the Soteria Project. Essentially he constructed sanctuaries where young people recently diagnosed with schizophrenia could stay and be free and safe. These people lived alongside compassionate people with training in psychotherapy who could help them traverse their extreme states of mind, but they were not forced or coerced into any kind of treatment, and they could leave and return as they pleased. Remarkably the recovery rate with the Soterias was equal to the recovery rate with traditional psychiatric treatment, and they had a lower rate of relapse and higher overall life satisfaction. Moreover, the per capita cost of Soteria treatment is lower than that of psychopharmaceutical treatment. However, there are only a handful of Soteria houses operating in the world because, basically, they eschew the medical model for psychiatric treatment, which has eclipsed psychological treatment due to the influence of pharmaceutical companies. It seems only logical and just that Soteria houses should be common enough for every person diagnosed with schizophrenia to have access. I personally feel that neuroleptic drugs, which quite often have irreversible side effects, should be used as a last resort, second only to psychosurgery and forced hospitalization. People need the chance to recover naturally, before they are doomed to a life of drug-dependence. The only interest standing in the way is profits for the pharmaceutical industry. Btw, the industry funds the testing of all drugs and controls what is publicized about them. That's why you don't know that SSRI anti-depressants are no more effective than placebos, yet they mess with your seratonin system, so you cannot come off them without severe withdrawal symptoms. I will rant more extensively elsewhere, but the point is that people need Soteria houses, and policy needs to change so that they are allowed to exist!