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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

shioned, overly expensive, and downright impractical. But ineffectively treated illness means staggering costs in any case. In one study, a group of hospitalized patients with treatment resistant depression ended up requiring 19 times the dollar amount in services compared to patients with more treatment responsive depression. One patient admitted to Austen Riggs had been through 100 previous short-term hospitalizations; finally, her insurance company cried uncle and asked Riggs if it could help.

Founded in 1919, and shaped over its 89 years by eminent psychoanalysts, including Erik Erikson, the Austen Riggs Center features a novel, intensive program of care that includes but goes beyond the best of biological psychiatry. The Riggs program is organized around intensive psychodynamic psychotherapy, along with family and group treatment, in an open environment with no locked wards. As a therapeutic community, it emphasizes the role of patients as citizens with an active stake in their own development, not just as consumers of care. Its bucolic campus on the main street of Stockbridge -- with historic, white brick buildings, a modern community center framed in wood and glass, and an activities center set in the thick of town -- looks more like a well-tended college than an asylum. Indeed, Riggs practices many of the lofty principles of the 19th century asylum movement, which held that mentally ill people would respond to well-tended grounds and well-appointed rooms -- a physical environment that conveyed respect for their essential humanity.

"Our commitment at Austen Riggs is to 'Treat the person, and not the disorder,'" says Edward Shapiro, the CEO and medical director. "Many of the leading treatments fail because they chase after symptoms but they don't engage the person. So we put 'treatment resistant' in quotation marks. What we've found is that you have to take a variety of approaches to help people take charge of their lives."'/>"/>

SOURCE Austin Riggs Center
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