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January 16, 2015 by Bob Nikkel, MSW

New CEU/CME Course Available: Psychiatric Medications and Long-term Outcomes for Schizophrenia

bnikkel_miaceThe Mad in America Continuing Education Project is pleased to announce the posting of its second on-line course.

This course qualifies for 3.0 CMEs  approved by the American Academy of Family Physicians and 2.5 CEUs approved by Commonwealth Educational Seminars for psychologists, social workers, licensed marriage and family counselors, nurses and certified addiction counselors.

We are fortunate to have enlisted the expertise of one of the world’s premier researchers, Martin Harrow, PhD, of the University of Illinois Chicago Medical School as he presents his 26-year comprehensive outcome study of individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders.

The course includes a one-hour discussion moderated by Bob Whitaker which includes Dr. Harrow’s chief collaborator, Dr. Thomas Jobe. The two lessons together focus on the improved outcomes for people who stopped taking antipsychotic medications compared to those on antipsychotics.

Instructor

Martin-HarrowMartin Harrow, PhD

Martin Harrow is a psychologist and widely-cited expert on schizophrenia and bipolar disorders. He has published over 250 scientific papers and four books on these and related areas. As Director of the Chicago Followup Study, he has received several national awards for his research on thought disorder, psychosis, long-term adjustment, suicide, and recovery in schizophrenia. Recently his research has focused on longitudinal studies of the long-term effects of antipsychotic medications. He has been on the faculty at Yale University and the University of Chicago, and in 1990, moved to the Medical College of the University of Illinois as Professor and Director of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry. He is now Distinguished Professor Emeritus there.

We look forward to sharing the work Dr. Harrow, Dr. Jobe and other colleagues in better understanding the relationship between long-term use or non-use of psychiatric medications and important outcomes like functional status, psychotic symptoms and rehospitalization.

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November 20, 2012 by Robert B. Zipursky, Thomas J. Reilly & Robin M. Murray

The Myth of Schizophrenia as a Progressive Brain Disease

Abstract

Schizophrenia has historically been considered to be a deteriorating disease, a view reinforced by recent MRI findings of progressive brain tissue loss over the early years of illness. On the other hand, the notion that recovery from schizophrenia is possible is increasingly embraced by consumer and family groups. This review critically examines the evidence from longitudinal studies of (1) clinical outcomes, (2) MRI brain volumes, and (3) cognitive functioning. First, the evidence shows that although approximately 25% of people with schizophrenia have a poor long-term outcome, few of these show the incremental loss of function that is characteristic of neurodegenerative illnesses. Second, MRI studies demonstrate subtle developmental abnormalities at first onset of psychosis and then further decreases in brain tissue volumes; however, these latter decreases are explicable by the effects of antipsychotic medication, substance abuse, and other secondary factors. Third, while patients do show cognitive deficits compared with controls, cognitive functioning does not appear to deteriorate over time. The majority of people with schizophrenia have the potential to achieve long-term remission and functional recovery. The fact that some experience deterioration in functioning over time may reflect poor access, or adherence, to treatment, the effects of concurrent conditions, and social and financial impoverishment. Mental health professionals need to join with patients and their families in understanding that schizophrenia is not a malignant disease that inevitably deteriorates over time but rather one from which most people can achieve a substantial degree of recovery.

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