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Less is Probably Better

Less is Probably Better

The Benefits and Costs of Antipsychotics

Chapter:
(p.214) 9 Less is Probably Better
Source:
Doctoring the Mind
Author(s):
Richard P. Bentall
Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9780814791486.003.0009

This chapter discusses how for clinicians, predicting the onset of psychosis creates the possibility of developing therapeutic strategies to prevent symptoms before they occur. This idea is being pursued in some parts of the world, but presents some important ethical challenges. There is a danger that individuals at high risk will be harmed by being informed of their at-risk status, by being stigmatized as a result of being unnecessarily involved with psychiatric services, or by being coerced into receiving treatments that cause more harm than good. These risks must be taken very seriously since many people identified as being at high risk will not actually become psychotic. Any decision about the wisdom of prescribing antipsychotic medication to high-risk patients must be informed by a careful analysis of the benefits and costs of this type of treatment.

Keywords:   psychosis, high-risk individuals, psychiatric services, therapeutic strategies, antipsychotic medication

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