Back in November 2010, Nature, the weekly science journal, printed a feature issue on schizophrenia. For families with loved ones having schizophrenia, the issue provides good additional information about this difficult, dreaded syndrome, including NIMH Director Tom Insel’s vision piece called “Rethinking Schizophrenia”. Insel tries to posit a vision of schizophrenia for 2030, a difficult task as he admits. Here are some of Insel’s thoughts:
“The history of schizophrenia say more in many ways about the perspectives of the observer than the observed.”
“Although both conventional and atypical antipsychotics reliably reduce delusions and hallucinations, they have not enhanced functional recovery…“
“Research focusing on the drugs instead of the illness has thus far yielded too little progress…“
“One of the most egregious aspects of schizophrenia treatment in 2010 is the fragmentation of care, with medical care separated from psychiatric care and both isolated from psychosocial interventions, such as supportive employment and family education, which has a strong evidence base for effectiveness.”
“Schizophrenia today too often defines a person rather than describing the illness.”
“We need a personalized and preemptive approach, based on understanding and detecting individual risk and facilitated by safe and effective interventions for those in [the early stages] of this disorder. In the meantime, we can create policies for social inclusion, family support, and continuity of care to ensure that those in the later stages of the syndrome have the best chance of recovery.”
Families of loved ones with schizophrenia will benefit from a careful reading of Insel’s article, as well as all the related articles in this feature issue. Connect to this issue of Nature by clicking here.