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Debate On Child Abuse & Schizophrenia Repeated

Media Release. July 10 2006 University of Auckland


On June 14th Dr John Read, Senior Lecturer at The University of Auckland's Department of Psychology, proposed the motion 'This house believes child abuse is a cause of schizophrenia' at a public debate at the Institute of Psychiatry in London on June 14th (6pm). The motion was carried by 114 - 52.

Dr Read has now been invited to argue the case again, this time at the IES-IDEC Auditorium in Barcelona, on July 21st (1pm), at the invitation of Spanish psychiatrist Dr Jorge Tizon. The opposing case will be put by Professor Cristobal Gasto of the University of Barcelona

These debates follow the publication of a review paper* by Dr Read and international colleagues concluding that child abuse does have a causal role in psychotic symptoms.

Media commentary on this paper included:

The Guardian (UK) (22.11.2005): "The psychiatric establishment is about to experience an earthquake that will shake its intellectual foundations*..It will have to rethink many of its most cherished assumptions." Newsweek (12.12.2005):"The most definitive look at schizophrenia to date. . . . . The cumulative impact of this research has swayed opinion in the profession's highest echelons"

During his visit to Europe, Dr Read, besides delivering the keynote address - "The Politics of Schizophrenia - at the Annual Conference of the British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Therapies" (Warwick University (July 20th), will launch the Spanish translation of his book 'Models of Madness' / 'Modelos de Locura' (Herder, 2006).

'Models of Madness', co-edited with Dr Richard Bentall, Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Manchester, is already in its 4th print run and has been previously translated into Swedish. It argues that schizophrenia is not an illness and that hallucinations and delusions are understandable reactions to adverse life events. It also documents the role of drug companies in promulgating simplistic biological causes and treatments.

A review of 'Models of Madness' in the Australian & NZ Journal of Psychiatry:
"It shakes many of the shibboleths of psychiatry and does so with some sound science. For the 'schizophrenia is a brain disease' theorists and the 'it's in your genes, families are blameless and it has nothing to do with childhood experiences' theorists: read this book and re-examine your tenets."

"I look forward to the second debate," says Dr Read. "I am delighted that, after decades of psychiatry insisting that schizophrenia is a biologically-based illness, many psychiatrists are now prepared to consider a more balanced and evidence-based approach"

* Read, J., van Os, J., Morrison, A.P., & Ross , C.A. (2005) Childhood trauma, psychosis and schizophrenia: a literature review with theoretical and clinical implications. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 112, 330-350

Dr John Read

'Modelos de locura'
'Models of Madness'

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