I was disappointed to read the rambling nonsense in Geoff Dennis's letter (M Star November 8), which included reactionary gems such as "there is no cure for ailments such as the condition misleadingly known as schizophrenia and there never will be."
Geoff's main concern appears to be a rant against psychiatrists, psychotropic medication, with a general recommendation for us to start taking hallucinogenic drugs.
Schizophrenia is certainly a major psychiatric disorder that alters an individual's perception, thoughts and behaviour.
Patients may suffer from "positive" symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions and behavioural disturbances. They may also suffer from "negative" symptoms such as deterioration in personal functioning, memory and concentration problems, social withdrawal, poor personal hygiene and reduced motivation for day-to-day activities.
Up to 1 per cent of the population might experience schizophrenia in their lifetime and following an initial episode, up to 20 per cent will recover completely. Others will improve and over half will become symptom-free with sustained and continuous treatment.
Many people who do not achieve complete recovery nonetheless are able to sustain an acceptable quality of life, given adequate help and support.
The treatment of schizophrenia was revolutionised from the 1950s with the development of neuroleptic drugs which block dopamine receptors in certain parts of the brain.
Until then, schizophrenia was certainly an intractable and deteriorating illness, requiring long-term hospitalisation, with increasing disability and ultimately death.
Schizophrenia remains a severe mental disorder and one which probably cannot be "cured."
But modern medications and treatment, especially combined with early diagnosis, do now enable most patients to live and work in their communities indistinguishable from anyone else.