In his C-SPAN public discussion author Robert Whitaker points out Acute Encephalitis Lethargica was misdiagnosed as schizophrenia and schizophrenia has flu-like characteristics

Uploaded by on Feb 23, 2009

A case demonstration showing loss of equilibrium at an early stage and somnolence at a later stage due to encephalitis lethargica, also known as ‘sleepy sickness’ or ‘sleeping sickness’. Find out more:

Posted by Maria Mangicaro

Click here to view Robert Whitaker discuss Anatomy of an Epidemic on C-SPAN

The 1998 Pulitzer Prize Finalist and author of Mad in America discussed the rise in diagnosis of mental illness in the U.S. and the proliferation of drugs to medicate various conditions. Mr. Whitaker contended that drugs do little to balance imbalanced brain chemistry. The event was held by Community Access, Inc. at the National Arts Club in New York City.

Mr. Whitaker makes his C-SPAN concluding statements very clear.

My interpretation (summarized) of Mr. Whitaker’s beliefs regarding the treatment of psychosis are:

– the research supports short-term efficacy of antipsychotics and long-term chronicity

– the comparison research from 1945-55 involved treating psychotic episodes with hospitalizations that lasted between 12 months and five years.

– his book is not a medical advice book and does not encourage patients to go off of medications (although some psychiatric patients have gone off medications after reading Anatomy)

– he believes psychiatric medications have a place in mental health care

– Anatomy of an Epidemic does not take an anti-medication position and is in fact a “pro-med”, best use practice

– when considering psychotic patients, some will do better off meds, while others do better on meds

– he believes the psychophramacology paradigm is a failed revolution

– psychotic episodes have flu-like characteristics of coming and going on their own, treatment with medication is the best approach to quickly stabilize

– his appeal is to create a national discussion that incorporates the long-term data

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