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LETTER: Schizophrenia treatment trialled in West Cork

October 8th, 2017 8:00 PM

By Southern Star Team

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SIR –  ON  Tuesday September 19th, 2017 RTE 2 broadcast a documentary on schizophrenia called The Voices in My Head,  where young people spoke about what it’s like to live with such a severe mental health disorder and struggle with delusional thoughts and the internal voices in their heads that are so associated with schizophrenia. This was the first time an Irish documentary TV programme was made about schizophrenia, where sufferers of the mental illness and their families spoke in an open and honest way on how they deal with the disorder and the everyday challenges they have to deal with.

 The incidence of schizophrenia in Ireland is widespread. Yet compared with depression and suicide very little is spoken about it, despite the fact the the incidence of suicide among those suffering from schizophrenia is very high. Traditionally, schizophrenia was treated almost exclusively with medication aimed at controlling the more severe symptoms of delusions and hallucinations.

But, unfortunately,  many side effects can develop from the long term use of psychotropic medication. 

The programme also included a new approach to the treatment of schizophrenia currently being trialled in West Cork mental health services, called Open Dialogue.

 Open Dialogue was developed in Western Lapland in the 1980s. It involves a consistent family/social network approach to care, in which the primary treatment is carried out through meetings involving the patient, together with his or her family members and extended social network.

 The programme is available on the RTE Player until October 18th.

 Cormac Williams, 

Psychiatric Nurses’

Association, Co Kerry.

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