The case for establishing a minimal medication alternative for psychosis and schizophrenia

A new article in the journal Psychosis examines whether everyone with a psychotic condition needs long-term antipsychotic treatment and evidence for alternative models of care.

The article recommends that healthcare providers should be encouraged to develop a psychosocial treatment package for people with psychosis or schizophrenia that provides a realistic possibility of minimising antipsychotic exposure.

The development of severe mental health conditions is strongly linked to our environments, particularly experiences of trauma and adversity. However treatments for severe mental health conditions are often primarily biomedical, centred around medication. For people diagnosed with schizophrenia or psychosis, this is antipsychotic medication.

Although antipsychotics have been found to reduce symptoms and risk of relapse, some patients derive little benefit from these drugs, and they can lead to severe adverse effects. Subsequently, a high proportion of people do not want to take antipsychotics and request an alternative.

Yet in the UK and in many countries there are currently no guidelines for stopping antipsychotics or formal treatment alternatives, despite such alternatives being available in some countries.

For example, in Norway and Vermont (USA), in response to pressure from service user organisations, governments have mandated the establishment of “minimal medication” services.

Read the article here, open access for 6 months from 28th May 2021:

Ruth E. Cooper, John P. Mason, Tim Calton, John Richardson & Joanna Moncrieff (2021) Opinion Piece: The case for establishing a minimal medication alternative for psychosis and schizophrenia, Psychosis, DOI: 10.1080/17522439.2021.1930119