Thank you for your report on schizophrenia (WDDTY, vol 4 no 11). It rightly points out that "if irrationality isn't biological, then psychiatry loses much of its rationale for existence as a medical speciality." May I point out that the reverse is equally true. If irrationality and other psychiatric conditions, such as recurrent clinical depression, are biological, then the psychologists and counsellors who make a very nice living out of trying to persuade sick people that they just need to talk to someone have no basis for their existence.
The "sick brain" theory is perfectly correct. It is the brain which is affected. Doctors have long known that diet can affect the brain. Janice Short, Dyfed.......
WDDTY replies: You are right that there is no one cause of mental illness. Our worry is that the "sick brain" theory is often justification for the indefinite use of psychotropic drugs. A recent follow-up study 13 years after 95 schizophrenics were returned to the community after their first psychiatric admission found that none had ended up in long stay psychiatric wards, homeless, in prison, or in a high security hospital. Eighty five patients were living independently or with their family or friends, and half were not in contact with psychiatric services (BMJ, 26 March 1994).