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Online Forum

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Do you think that the allegation contained in John Nash's story--that sheer will can defeat schizophrenia--is accurate? Further, how does this gibe with the exhortation, to consumers, to stay on their medications?

New York, New York

Answered by Frederick J. Frese III, Ph.D.:
These questions raise an important issue. For many of us with this condition work and willpower can be very helpful. Schizophrenia is a disorder that one can learn to live with, but it takes time and experience. With more experience, those of us who are not too disabled can learn to cope and to function fairly well despite periodically experiencing symptoms. Most, particularly the more disabled of us, benefit considerably from anti-psychotic medications. But it is also clear that some of us, particularly as we become older, can function fairly well even without taking medications.

Most of us with schizophrenia, particularly those who are more disabled, are better off if we take the medications. I learned from experience that I can become very sick if I do not take medications, even though I do not consider myself as disabled as many others.

In summary, for most consumers it is best that we take medications, but there are exceptions. Some of the better known, more successful, persons with schizophrenia, such as John Nash, and Dan Fisher appear to fall into this latter group.

Frederick J. Frese III, Ph.D.

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