Our Solution to Schizophrenia Has Failed

Medication, treatment work, but those in need aren't getting it
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 26, 2012 12:39 PM CST
Our Solution to Schizophrenia Has Failed
Excessive concern for privacy and poor treatment options have resulted in poor care of people with schizophrenia, putting too many Americans at risk, argues psychiatrist Paul Steinberg.   (Shutterstock)

America is so caught up in worries about privacy and stereotyping that we're blocking schizophrenics from the effective care that they need, and endangering many other lives as a result, writes psychiatrist Paul Steinberg in the New York Times. School counselors are usually better trained in depression and anxiety than psychosis, and steep hospitalization costs means that that many schizophrenics get hustled out the door without sufficient treatment. The results are tragic, because, while most people with schizophrenia are not violent, those who are untreated are more likely to commit violent crimes. "It takes a village to stop a rampage," writes Steinberg. "Enough already."

Making matters worse, 1970s-era ethics rules forbid psychiatrists from commenting on the mental state of someone they have not examined examined directly—well intentioned, but in the cable news age those rules create a void that gets filled by loud, ignorant voices. But the bottom line is that "medication and treatment work. Too many people with acute schizophrenia have gone untreated. There have been too many Glocks, too many kids and adults cut down in their prime. Enough already." Click for Steinberg's full column, which calls for criminal punishment for those who sell weapons to people who exhibit signs of psychosis. (More psychiatry stories.)

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