Lars Martensson: Reverse Psychiatry in Sweden

What happens in Falun is that the people around the patient, the ”family,” are gathered as soon as possible for a session with the team. The team consists of the psychiatrist, Goran Andre, a psychologist, and two other people. They meet in a living-room type setting. By family is meant whoever is significant in the life of the patient. The experience of the team is that people will come, even if they have to travel from far away.

In this situation, everybody, not only the patient, is filled with anxiety and despair. Together with the team the family gets an increased capacity to contain and solve problems. It is often found that the patient emerges from psychosis during this first family session. The patient is almost always able to return home with the family the same day. If needed, one of the team members may come along home and stay the night with the family.

Psychosis Outcome with Reverse Psychiatry

Now the remarkable outcome. During these four years the Falun team took care of 37 first time psychotic patients. Normally about half of first time psychotic persons get stuck in their psychosis, become chronically psychotic, and get the diagnosis schizophrenia.You do not get that diagnosis right away; you get it after some time when you seem stuck in psychosis. The remarkable outcome is that during these years there was not a single new case of schizophrenia in the Falun area.
In a population of 60,000 people in four years you expect about 30 new cases of psychosis out of which about 15 graduate to schizophrenia. In Falun there were ZERO, instead of 15 cases of schizophrenia. This fact indicates that most, if not all people, who become schizophrenic with normal psychiatry, would overcome the psychosis with the Falun REVERSE PSYCHIATRY. In other words, with the right help at an early stage the development from psychosis to schizophrenia may be prevented.
Since in normal psychiatry most patients would receive neuroleptic drugs, I asked Göran how many of the 37 patients got the drugs. He estimates that perhaps 1/4 of the 37 patients have received a neuroleptic drug some time or times, when, he said “we have thought the drug might be of help.”
By 1998 one or two of the 37 patients were taking the drugs. In normal psychiatry, typically about 20 of the 37 patients would be getting neuroleptic drugs at that point in time. In other words, all or almost all of the Falun patients had escaped the usual fate of psychotic patients, the fate of being stuck in the neuroleptic drug trap.

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