December 22, 2004

Redefining the Standard of SZ Care

An expert panel of medical professionals and professors from top research institutions and universities are asking doctors to raise the bar in terms of expectations for schizophrenia treatment.

Atypical antipsychotics have greatly improved the management of positive symptoms, and often with fewer side effects. However, a national survey of schizophrenia patients (the results of which were discussed by the panel) reveals that in addition to hallucinations and delusions, patients feel that it is "very important" that treatments help control depression and the inability to think clearly, concentrate, or remember. 94% of the survey respondants look for improvements in daily functioning - improved ability to work, shop, and engage in normal interests and hobbies - as the ultimate treatment goal.

The expert panel agrees with such goals:

"For decades, psychiatry has focused almost solely on managing a patient's 'positive symptoms,' such as hallucinations and delusions, because for previous treatments, that is pretty much all we had to offer," said Philip D. Harvey, PhD, professor of psychiatry at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and chief psychologist at Mount Sinai Hospital. "Today, patients and physicians should expect that more of the disease symptoms can be controlled, and that people with schizophrenia can have a more meaningful life."

For the full story, see "Expert Panel Calls for Raising the Bar in Treating Schizophrenia", Dec 20 2004. Available at


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