Better treatment

April 28, 2006

As a paranoid schizophrenic who had a major hallucina-tory breakdown in 1999, I thank my lucky stars that I was not treated by a "critical psychiatrist" such as Duncan Double (Features, April 21).

After I was given anti-psychotic medication, my major symptoms disappeared within a month. I no longer had to live with the belief that all my actions were being supervised by malevolent people, or with the constant threat of assault and death, or the dishonest seduction of voices that suggested self-harm and suicide and promised that nothing bad would happen as a result.

I still suffer from the side-effects of my illness (the so-called negative symptoms, along with anxiety in public places) but I am able to live a reasonably normal and satisfying life. I am now two years away from finishing a part-time degree (with first-class grades to date), something that was clearly impossible before I was diagnosed and treated.

My personal opinion is that Double and his companions put ideology and romantic theories about mental illness before patients and effective treatment. Their beliefs are certainly dangerous, and they should not be allowed to treat patients with severe mental illness.

Name and address supplied.

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