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Talking Back to Madness

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Science  14 Mar 2014:
Vol. 343, Issue 6176, pp. 1190-1193
DOI: 10.1126/science.343.6176.1190

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Schizophrenia is a devastating mental disorder that afflicts about 1% of the world's population at one time or another, and is often characterized by hallucinations, delusions, and severe emotional and cognitive problems. For decades, antipsychotic drugs have been the main line of defense, but they have serious side effects and lots of patients end up not taking them. Recently, a number of clinical trials have suggested that psychological approaches, including old-fashioned "talk" psychotherapy and a method called cognitive behavioral therapy, can be moderately effective in many cases. These techniques engage with the human being behind the symptoms and are attracting increasing attention from the medical profession.