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Community Ment Health J. 1986 Fall;22(3):175-89.

A comprehensive treatment program for schizophrenia and chronic mental illness.


The failure of deinstitutionalization and the community mental health movement to improve the treatment of chronic psychiatric patients, particularly schizophrenics, is described. Problems with the current treatment paradigm include unrealistic expectations concerning the rehabilitative effects of antipsychotic medications, inadequate funding of the community mental health system, and the predominance of the "infectious disease model," rather than the more appropriate "chronic disease model" of mental illness. A model for the comprehensive treatment of chronic mental illness is proposed that includes: treatment, rehabilitation, social services, and continuity of care. The need for an integrated community approach to rehabilitating chronic psychiatric patients is stressed, and some of the specific ingredients essential to such a program are identified.

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