It's true that antipsychotics sometimes make people stupid; also fat, lazy, and any of about 10,000 other reported side-effects. Moreover, in most cases they don't bring about complete resolution of psychotic symptoms, and in some cases they seem to make little difference at all. Schizophrenia is a bad illness to get; but so is cancer, ischaemic heart disease, AIDS etc. etc., and the treatment for those is no more effective and no less toxic than the treatment of schizophrenia. On the other hand, about 1/3 of people who present with psychotic symptoms will have either a complete or a near-complete response to medication with minimal side-effects, and it would be tragic if they missed out due to anti-psychiatry prejudice or (more commonly) because they don't believe they have an illness.


There is a theory that the genes predisposing to schizophrenia have survived because they also give rise to original thinkers, conferring an advantage to society which outweighs the disadvantage of having floridly psychotic people around. According to this theory, it is only the *slightly* crazy ideas in those who don't develop the full-blown illness, or in Nash's case before they develop the full-blown illness, that are useful. The most likely outcome in an untreated floridly psychotic person who has to fend for himself is death.


Stathis Papaioannou

> CC:
> Subject: Re: Smullyan Shmullyan, give me a real example
> Date: Sun, 28 May 2006 10:52:32 +1000
> Well, in the case of schizoid mathematician John Nash, his  
> "psychotic" behaviour was also clearly linked to his maths ability.  
> After imbibing anti-psychotic medication, not only did his "unreal"  
> friends disappear, but his mathematical perception as well. The bind  
> he found himself in was surely then to be at once an unreasonable  
> machine (under yours and Bruno's definition) and a reasonable machine  
> as well - and to be both simultaneously!!! For Nash, the delusional  
> was the doorway to provability. He could not separate the two, except  
> under the influence of heavy chemistry. Can we do any better? Should  
> we even try?
> Kim
> On 27/05/2006, at 10:25 PM, Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> > It is interesting that in psychiatry, it is impossible to give a
> > reliable method for recognizing a delusion. The usual definition is  
> > that
> > a delusion is a fixed, false belief which is not in keeping with the
> > patient's cultural background. If you think about it, why should
> > cultural background have any bearing on whether a person's  
> > reasoning is
> > faulty? And even including this criterion, it is often difficult to  
> > tell
> > without looking at associated factors such as change in personality,
> > mood disturbance, etc. The single best test is to treat someone with
> > antipsychotic medication and see if the delusion goes away.

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