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Friday 28th October 2016

Schizophrenia label misleading

10th October 2006

01052006_mandepressed1Q.jpgAccording to experts, schizophrenia is a catch-all term which does not define a specific illness and leaves people with a destructive stigma.

So poorly understood and inadequately treated are the conditions lumped together under the label of schizophrenia, that patients have just a 30% chance of recovery in this country. 

Most doctors treat schizophrenia as a disease but delusions, paranoia and voices in the head can be triggered by a trauma.  Although the National Institute for Clinical Excellence recommends talking therapies should be tried to overcome the condition, most patients are given only heavy-duty drugs, the experts said.

Members of the user group, Hearing Voices, are therefore calling for schizophrenia to be banned as a concept saying that patients will do better if doctors focus on their symptoms rather than trying to place them in a disease category.

Their call comes on World Mental Health Day and coincides with the launch of a three-year initiative by the government to lift the stigma of mental illness from the workplace.  A diagnosis of schizophrenia can end a person's career.  Health minister Rosie Winterton said the government is urging employers to help prevent the onset of mental health problems by improving working conditions.  

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