‘Psychiatry Has its Head in the Sand: Royal College of Psychiatrists Rejects Discussion of Crucial Research on Antipsychotics’ by Joanna Moncrieff

jmoncrieffDuring the time I was a neuroscientist (for 25 years), I became increasingly worried about the blinkered focus of many people that drugs were the sole solution to mental health problems. I was also concerned about the side effects produced by prescribed drugs. In the 13 years since I left this field – well, I stopped doing research – my concerns have increased, particularly with many new research findings. Here is an example from Joanna Moncrieff, from the excellent website Mad in America, of why am I worried.      

‘Two pieces of research have been published over the last two years that should prompt a major reorientation of the treatment of schizophrenia and psychosis, and a fundamental reappraisal of the use of antipsychotic drugs in general.  Put together, these studies suggest that the standard approach to treating serious mental health problems may cause more harm than good.

Long-term treatment with antipsychotic drugs has adverse effects on the brain, and may impair rather than improve chances of recovery for some. Many people ask me how the psychiatric profession has responded to this data. Surely, they think, it must have stimulated a major debate within the profession, and some critical reflection about why it took so long to recognise these worrying effects? Sadly, this does not appear to be happening.

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