National Post (National Edition)

Treating schizophre­nia


Re: An inspiring true-life tale of surviving mental illness, Marni Soupcoff, Dec. 18

The elephant in the room as it pertains to treating schizophre­nia, is that 50 to 90 per cent (as commonly cited in medical literature) of those with the illness don't believe that they have it or require treatment. This lack of insight into their illness is unequivoca­lly, by leaps and bounds, the greatest obstacle to their receiving adequate treatment. After all — why would anyone accept treatment for an illness that they don't have?

Fortunatel­y the mental health laws in Ontario and generally throughout Canada do under certain circumstan­ces allow for involuntar­y treatment for such individual­s. This allows them to remain stable and living their lives out of hospital. Unfortunat­ely, in much of the United States and a number of other countries, such individual­s are allowed to languish in the types of squalid and dangerous lifestyles described in the article, all in the name of protecting civil liberties above all else — no matter the cost to the patients and their families. David Kantor MD FRCP, Toronto

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