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A Study In This Month's Journal Of Nervous And Mental Disease Reveals Hope For Recovery From Suicidal Thinking And Treatment Resistant Mental Illness
Date:1/15/2009

STOCKBRIDGE, Mass., Jan. 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In 1992, the Austen Riggs Center, a small, not-for-profit psychiatric hospital and residential treatment center in Western Massachusetts, began to follow 226 admitted patients in a multidimensional follow-along study that asked, among others, a most basic question: Can these patients recover? Given the clinical profile of the subjects -- they typically had five or six diagnoses, including major affective disorders, schizophrenia, PTSD, personality disorders, substance abuse, and various types of eating disorders -- even many mental health professionals would be dubious. But now, with data published in the January, 2009 issue of the Journal of Nervous & Mental Disease comes the heartening news that, for a wide majority of the sample, the answer is a resounding yes.

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20090115/DC59409 )

The first main paper released from the study, "Improvement and Recovery from Suicidal and Self-Destructive Phenomena in Treatment-Refractory Disorders," shows that, over time, 73 percent of the subjects ceased to mutilate themselves and 77 percent ceased making suicide attempts. Even just thinking of suicide disappeared in more than half of the sample. Recovery from such depths is not only possible, but, given time, very likely - offering an empirical foundation for hope. "This is a real revelation," says Dr. Christopher Fowler, director of research at Austen Riggs. "There is a point at which these individuals fundamentally stop thinking about dying and start thinking about living."

Every week, the Austen Riggs Center admits new patients with such severe mental illness that they have not found sufficient help anywhere else. Psychiatrists call them "treatment resistant." In plain terms, that means they have tried and tried, and failed
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SOURCE Austin Riggs Center
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