Therapy Without Drugs May Ward Off Psychosis


A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study comparing outcomes from risperidone, cognitive therapy, and supportive therapy in a cohort of 115 at-risk young adults over a 12-month period finds that “it’s quite safe and reasonably effective … to offer supportive psychosocial care to these patients,” according to Dr. Patrick McGorry, an author of the study. Dr. McGorry, a long-time advocate for early intervention, notes that there is “no evidence to suggest that antipsychotic medications are needed in first-line.” The study, which will appear in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, is available online now.


Of Further Interest:
Therapy without drugs may suffice to ward off psychosis

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected].


  1. Yes, but when it comes from Patrick McGorry one has to question what is really means. He is the person in charge of Australia’s whole mental health system and has been publically adamant that antipsychotics can prevent psychosis.

    The people in this study, where labelled as being “at risk” of psychosis, not because they had ever shown any such symptoms of psychosis. At risk can mean for instance that if you have EVER been having a coversation with someone and were not able to find the exact word you were looking for, you still got the message across and found another word to use instead. But the fact that you could not think of the exact word at that times, menas you are at ULTRA high risk of developing psychosis!!!!!!

    After communtiy outrage here, mainly from the medical community, who says that these drugs should not be used on people who are not ill, he is now saying that perhaps people with these at risk symptoms, which is in effect the WHOLE population, we don’t need to place them antipsychotics. The fact that he would even consider doing a trail with such people,a nd having some of them on antipsychotics for that trail says something in itself.

    He is quite adamant that the SOLE cause of people deteriorating is that we do not interfene early enough and that we must ensure that people are forcibly medicated the SECOND they show any form of real psychosis. Waiting even one day can mean that they will die of this processive brain disease. Accorind to McGorry, antipsychotics, slow the progressive nature of schizophrenia, so people are able to function for longer.

    On one hand this is good, he has now decided that perhaps the whole population does not need to be on these medications, but this is not looking at anyone who has been diagnosed with a disorder, becuase they showed real symptoms.

    One of his primary purposes for interveing with this group is to ensure that they understand the importance of taking medication the second they show real symptoms of psychosis, so they do a great deal of psycho eduction and anyone who says thankyou for it, and thanks them for the information and says they understand it now, is seen as being better!!! NO ONE in any study has actually shown in decrease in the ultra high risk symptoms!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    And of course he already had most of them on antidepressents, which rather than possibly causing the psychosis in some of the people, would be acting as a preventative measure in the ones hwo did not get it!!!!!

    You cannot predict who will get psychosis and the signs and symptoms they are looking for are evident in everyone at some moment in time. We are all at risk of psychoiss, although the only ones with true psychosis, which is incredibly false beliefs and those psychiatrists and mental health professionals who believe in this crap!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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