Psychosis risk no good excuse for psychiatric drugging

A study in England shows that psychiatric drugs should probably not be used on people at risk for developing schizophrenia. The story is in TODAYonline, Drugs not best option for people at risk of psychosis, study warns.

The study was conducted by 5 universities.

Published on the British Medical Journal website, the study found the frequency, seriousness, and intensity of psychotic symptoms that may lead to more serious conditions was reduced by counselling and CT [cognitive therapy].

Participants, aged 13 – 35, were given weekly CT sessions for a max of 6 months over a 4 year period.

Before the trial, international evidence estimated that 40 to 50 per cent of people at risk of developing psychosis at a young age would progress to a psychotic illness.

Apparently this figure was a gross over-estimation. The article says in a number places that this figure is closer to one in ten. In fact, it’s less than 1 in 10.

But only 8 per cent of patients in the study were shown to have made the transition.

These results have led researchers to suggest that neuroleptic drugs should not be used as the first line of defense for dealing with at risk youths.

Do neuroleptic drugs cause an even bigger problem once they have been introduced? We’ve got high relapse rates and low recovery rates for people maintained on these drugs. Although it may seem so, this question was not addressed by the study.