Schizophrenia is a disorder that affects the mental functionality of an individual, and as a result, causes emotional unresponsiveness and disintegration of the cognitive process. Therefore, patients with schizophrenia show different symptoms such as auditory hallucinations, disorganized speech, delusions, and social dysfunction. As a result, the disorder can be diagnosed through observations and the patients’ self-reports. Furthermore, several factors associated with genetics, prescription drugs, social factors, environmental factors, and neurobiology appear to cause schizophrenia. Conversely, both pharmacological medications and psychosocial interventions are important in the management of schizophrenia (Bellack, 2006, p. 432).
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This essay presents a critical analysis of issue 9, “Are Antipsychotic Medications the Treatment of Choice for People with Psychosis?” relative to the arguments put forward by the pro-and-con side of the issue. As a result, the essay uses a set of questions regarding the two sides to present a coherent analysis of the issue. Lastly, the essay reviews contemporary studies on the management of schizophrenia to support the pro-side of the issue.
Critical Issue Analysis
Fuller Torrey who represents the pro-side of the issue outlines various facts about the treatment and management of schizophrenia to support his case. For instance, the author notes that over the years, research studies show that antipsychotic drugs are effective in terms of reducing the probability of patients being re-hospitalized. Furthermore, the author shows that the effectiveness of antipsychotic drugs lies in their ability to increase the number of glial cells in the brain, and as a result, enhance the functionality of synapses and improve the symptoms of schizophrenia. Conversely, Fuller is quick to note that antipsychotic medications are not effective in reversing the symptoms of schizophrenia when used separately. Therefore, when medications are used together with other psychosocial interventions, there is a significant improvement in most patients (Fuller, 2001).
On the other hand, Robert Whitaker who represents the con side of the issue puts forward several counter-arguments, which are contrary to those presented by Fuller. Therefore, Whitaker notes that over the years, the side effects of antipsychotic drugs, which appear to cause chronic illnesses in patients, have been ignored by the proponents of medical interventions in treating schizophrenia. In addition, the author shows that in the early 1960s, antipsychotic drugs appeared to increase the likelihood of patients being re-hospitalized. Furthermore, the author agrees with Fuller’s argument that antipsychotic drugs do enhance the functionality of synapses in the brain (Whitaker, 2002).
There are different opinions in the case presented by the pro-side of the issue. For instance, the author notes that the current medications for schizophrenia are the safest while ignoring their potential side effects on the patients. In addition, the author notes that the effectiveness of the drugs in reversing the symptoms of schizophrenia is clear to most physicians and therefore, those who do not use them on their patients are incompetent (Fuller, 2001). Conversely, despite the con-side noting that the antipsychotic drugs do increase dopamine receptors in the brain, the author’s argument that the receptors relate to increased psychosis is questionable. Additionally, Whitaker’s argument that antipsychotic drugs do not have any effect on brain functionality is unfounded. Furthermore, in a bid to recommend an alternative treatment modality for schizophrenia, Whitaker notes that optimistic caregivers can play a major role in terms of helping Nature to heal patients, which is not always true (Whitaker, 2002).
The strengths and weaknesses of the pro-side
Fuller demonstrates a clear and in-depth understanding of the issue because the author logically presents his arguments without using vague statements to run across different arguments. In addition, the author uses his theoretical basis of the topic to explain most of the concepts regarding the management of schizophrenia. In so doing, the author presents a much stronger case compared to the con side. However, the author fails as a professional to support his strong and conclusive arguments with statistically significant data or peer-reviewed research studies. Conversely, the author underemphasizes contrary arguments in his case, and as a result, the author fails to take note of crucial information that could support or contradict his case.
The strengths and weaknesses of the con-side
Despite the author approaching the case from a historical perspective, Whitaker manages to bring out strong counter-arguments, which can help the reader to single out various pitfalls in the arguments presented by the pro-side. Furthermore, the author explores several factors associated with the treatment of schizophrenia, which receives little or no attention from most psychiatrists. In so doing, the author notes various side effects associated with antipsychotic drugs. However, by failing to review the scientific perspective of treatment, the author misses out on several factors, which enhance the recovery of patients. For instance, the author fails to note that when used separately; neither medications nor psychosocial interventions are effective in treating schizophrenia.
The credibility of the authors
The case presented by the pro-side is more credible than the con-side because the author of the pro-side commands a little more respect out of being a professional in psychiatry. Furthermore, the case presented by the pro-side is much stronger considering that the author logically presents different arguments and concepts. This form of professional writing aids the reader to understand different arguments and concepts more clearly. On the other hand, several vague arguments are notable in the case presented by the con-side. Therefore, to many readers, the case presented by the con-side can pass as an expression of wishful thinking on the part of the author.
Relative to the arguments presented by the pro and the con side, I support the case presented by the pro side because it demonstrates much professionalism in the presentation of arguments. In addition, the author presents a logical case in which most if not all concepts are clearly defined therefore leaving the reader with no doubt on the credibility of the arguments provided. Furthermore, the author demonstrates an in-depth understanding of the topic.
This essay presents a critical analysis of issue 9, “Are Antipsychotic Medications the Treatment of Choice for People with Psychosis?” relative to the arguments presented by the pro and the con-sides. The discussions above show that the two sides present strong arguments to support their respective cases. However, contemporary research studies support the pro-side of the current issue. For instance, Bellack (2006, pp. 432-442), notes that antipsychotic drugs are effective in reversing the symptoms of schizophrenia despite that these medications do have several side effects on the patients. However, the long-term outcomes of the medications are incomparable to their side effects. In addition, Bellack (2006) agrees with Fuller’s argument that the effectiveness of pharmacological medications in treating schizophrenia depends on the psychosocial interventions from family members, psychologists, psychiatrists, and the public in general. These groups of people play a pivotal role in helping patients to recover from schizophrenia by creating an environment that reduces stigma, instills hope, empowers patients, and encourages social inclusion in the affected populations.
Bellack, A.S. (2006). Scientific and consumer models of recovery in schizophrenia: Concordance, contrasts, and implications. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 32 (3), 432-442.
Fuller, E.T. (2001). Surviving schizophrenia: A family manual for families, consumers, and providers (4th ed.). New York: HarperCollins Publishers.
Whitaker, R. (2002). Mad in America: Bad science, bad medicine, and the enduring mistreatment of the mentally-ill. New York: Perseus Books, L.L.C.