Are Antipsychotic Medications the Treatment of Choice for People with Psychosis?

The issue at stake is whether or not anti-psychotic medicines would indeed offer a cure for people who are suffering from psychosis of any kind. Popular opinion varies on the topic; while some like Fuller Torrey feel that anti-psychotic medication is indeed helpful in treating psychoses, Robert Whitaker states that these medicines in fact make the patient sicker than before, and increase the chances of re-hospitalization. Let us examine what Fuller Torrey has to say on the topic.

Drugs are extremely important for treating mental ailments like schizophrenia, because anti-psychotic drugs, which can be divided into first and second generation do not cure, but control the symptoms, much like diabetes medication may do. Torrey says that several experts have reiterated that anti-psychotic drugs bring on a host of side effects in the patient, like for example; a schizophrenic may exhibit tardive dyskinesia.

However, a recent study of schizophrenics, who had never been given anti-psychotic medication has reveled the fact that they had an “extraordinary prevalence of abnormal movements and postures. ” This can be taken to mean that these symptoms are in no way drug related. Current research today focuses on trying to identify which persons among schizophrenics are more likely than others to develop tardive dyskinesia, and it has become evident that symptoms are closely related to the age of the person.

It is also clear that more women than men develop tardive dyskinesia, and that those persons who have affective symptoms will develop the same. This evidence is directly different from the previously held belief that if the symptoms of tardive dyskinesia became obvious in the patient, then this would mean that his symptoms would get worse if he were to take anti-psychotic medication. This made several patients severely unwell, because they were afraid to continue the drugs in case their symptoms became worse, while at the same time they did need the drugs to remain well.

A study conducted as a follow up of patients with tardive dyskinesia who had continued with their medication revealed that while 30 percent became worse, 50 percent remained the same, and in 20 percent, the symptoms actually improved. (“Are anti-psychotic medications the treatment of choice for people with psychosis? ” 2001) Therefore, this can be taken to mean that Fuller Torrey was right when he asserted that anti-psychotic medication is indeed helpful in treating psychoses.

He supports his argument with facts and statistics, and he is able to convince the reader of his opinion, and why he is right in what he says. Fuller Torrey lays out the pros and cons of the issue in such a way that the reader is able to follow his point, and with the support of facts, decide that he knows what he is saying, and that he is right in what he is saying. Works Cited 1. “Are anti-psychotic medications the treatment of choice for people with psychosis? ” (2001) Retrieved on December 15 2008

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