How and Why the World Is Being Misinformed About Psychosis and Why Treatment is Most Often So Inhumane — and There is a Proven Cheaper Alternative…
“Psychosis is an abnormal condition of the mind that involves a “loss of contact with reality”. People experiencing psychosis may exhibit personality changes and a thought disorder. Depending on its severity, this may be accompanied by unusual or bizarre behavior, as well as difficulty with social interaction and impairment in carrying out daily life activities.”(1) Globally an estimated 14.4 billion is spent on anti-psychotic medication (2013)(2). One in thirteen people may experience a psychotic episode in their life time(3).
On the basis of the above-mentioned you can understand that psychosis is BIG BUSINESS. An average psychosis length is between a couple of days to a couple of months and regularly involves hospitalization. These costs — also amount to BIG BUSINESS. Furthermore, it should be considered that there are the costs — from not being able to participate fully within society. The average annual costs of psychosis in 2010 to society in Australia are estimated at AUS $77,297 per affected individual, comprising AUS $40,941 in lost productivity, AUS $21,714 in health sector costs, and AUS $14,642 in other sector costs(4). Psychosis costs Australian society AUS $4.91 billion per annum(4). Australia scores an average of 100.49 on the price of living index in 2010(5). With approximately 1bn people living in the Western hemisphere (2017) — and assuming that on the basis of the price index — the average cost to society of psychosis — can be estimated — the total cost would come out to be around 1,500 USD billion per annum at least.
Now — the psychiatric world in general– leads people to believe — that psychosis — is the result of a chemical imbalance of the brain. This is also the general perception amongst the public. Treatment with anti-psychotic medication is inhumane because of the many side effects that one can experience and develop from these types of medication. If you are interested — you can see an overview of the side effects of these medications by following this link — https://www.cchrint.org/psychiatric-drugs/antipsychoticsideeffects/. Furthermore, experiencing psychosis is very difficult and treatment at a hospital in general is often a difficult time — because in general you are concentrated and emotionally neglected. This is the result of the fact that hospitalization is expensive to society — and because psychiatrists and nurses are taught not to take the perceived incomprehensible communication seriously — because it is generally assumed — that this is counter productive to treatment — because not a psychological approach is chosen, but a pharmacological approach — that I feel has been pushed onto society — because of the BIG MONEY involved. This view is substantiated by — a scientifically proven method that was developed in Western Lapland in Finland about 20 years ago — that is commonly referred to as Open Dialogue. As has been proven by medical science — human brains hallucinate under circumstances — such as isolation, lack of stimuli, specific drugs and also psychosis. Why this is the case — nobody knows! It has also been proven that stress is an important factor regarding psychosis. Open Dialogue — is a method — that centers around family, peer and hospital staff (nurses, psychiatrists, family therapists) discussions — whereby every aspect of treatment is openly discussed with the patient present– based on the thought — that psychosis is the result of problems that arise in the relationship sphere that individuals have. You can imagine that this type of therapy — lowers stress levels of the brain of the individuals that are experiencing psychosis. And factually, it does. The treatment on the basis of Open Dialogue is the most successful treatment of psychosis in the world — that is registered and has been scientifically researched. In Western Lapland anti-psychotic medication — is administered, but much less often. This study of the Open Dialogue approach in Finland that used as little neuroleptics as possible found that in a group of 42 patients, 82% did not have psychotic symptoms at the end of five years, 86% had returned to their studies or jobs, and only 14% were on disability allowance. Only 29% had ever been exposed to a neuroleptic medication at all during the five years, and only 17% were on neuroleptics at the end of five years(6).
Mental illnesses are the third leading cause of the disability burden in Australia, accounting for an estimated 27% of the total years lost due to disability. People with psychotic illness are in work 21.5%(7) (2010). 86% of patients have returned to their jobs or studies or were job seeking, thus not receiving government disability in Western Lapland in Finland — when treated with the Open Dialogue method. In fact in Finland — this group performs better than the average work force.
Taking into consideration that also in Finland years on average are lost because of psychosis. Let’s say an average of five years and assuming that treatment costs are some more expensive. Extrapolating Australian figures: would mean that society in the Western World alone could save an estimated: 750 bn per year at least. Including all the other — imaginable benefits — the benefits are unlimited in my opinion and therefore I feel Government should move forward and implement change on a mass scale. Calculated by taking a look at the saved disability under the Open Dialogue method — and adjusted for some more therapy costs -
Feel free to help me improve this contribution. It would be much appreciated.
The above link is a link to a film documentary about Open Dialogue.
(6) Jaakko Seikkula, Jukka Aaltonen, Birgittu Alakare, Kauko Haarakangas, Jyrki Kera¨Nen, & Klaus Lehtinen, Psychotherapy Research, March 2006; 16(2): 214/228.