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The Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine Vol. 10, No.3 & 4, 1995


Orthomolecular: The Optimum Treatment for Schizophrenia

A. Hoffer, M.D., Ph.D.

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Schizophrenia is one of the most important chronic diseases. It does not kill as many people as cancer or heart disease, but in another sense it does terminate the life every person is entitled to - a life which is relatively free from pain and is normally productive. The person with schizophrenia should be able to achieve whatever he or she could as if they had never been ill, once they have recovered from their acute illness. But this does not happen. The natural recovery rate is probably less than 25%, and the addition of any or all of the tranquilizers when used alone does not yield any better results. In 1850 Dr. John Conolly reported a fifty percent recovery rate. He used decent, humane care, good food and shelter. I have yet to meet a schizophrenic who recovered from drugs alone who is practicing medicine, law, piloting an Air Canada jet, running a bank, or doing any of the many skilled jobs upon which our society must depend.

For this reason, the stigma of mental disease has remained strong in spite of best efforts to convince the public that it is a disease like others. In my opinion, the stigma will dissipate only when the results of treatment are as predictable and as effective as are the treatments for the majority of other chronic conditions. We are ready for this now, but it has been impossible to persuade the psychiatric profession that it would be better for everyone if it would start to use treatment which is more effective than is the treatment of arthritis, or the treatment of cancer.

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