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Rethinking Psychosis in the 21st Century: Brief Reflections from the Front Line

The Letter, Issue 55/56, Spring/Summer 2014, Pages 75 - 79


RETHINKING PSYCHOSIS IN THE 21ST CENTURY

BRIEF REFLECTIONS FROM THE FRONT LINE


Malcolm Garland[1]


Based on published research, the views of service users, as well as clinical experience, this paper critiques the concept of schizophrenia. It will highlight: the failure of the emergence of a biological explanation for schizophrenia; the ‘myth’ of antipsychotics; the heterogeneity of ‘psychosis’ in the real world; psychosis as just another form of psychological stress. Our summary view is that schizophrenia is too broad a term to be useful and that there are many patients with this diagnosis being treated with a pharmacological approach rather than a psychological one. We propose an aetiological/narrative based model of psychosis ‘What happened to you?’ replacing a phenomenological one ‘What is wrong with you?’


Keywords: limit of medical model in psychosis treatment; anti-psychotics misnomer?; trauma-related aetiology; service user movement


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