RAISE Study Long-Term Outcome

Susan T. Azrin, Ph.D. Amy B. Goldstein, Ph.D. and Robert K. Heinssen, Ph.D., ABPP reported on “What’s Next for RAISE?”:

“The 18-month duration of untreated psychosis (DUP) found in the RAISE Study Early Treatment Program far exceeds the quality standard of a maximum 12 weeks DUP.

This is especially concerning given that CSC was much more effective when DUP is shorter. We need innovative strategies for reducing DUP.”

The burden of proof is now on to determine if the RAISE results last five years or longer or last a decade or longer in the lives of participants. The researchers will question the participants in five years to find out if the effect was lasting.

The authors of this article state that people with schizophrenia die 28 years earlier due to preventable illnesses like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

Here my story is atypical: my primary care doctor stays on top of my health. She monitors everything consistently because she knows I’m taking Geodon. I had to flee a male doctor who treated me in a sub-par manner because I had schizophrenia. I quit seeing him and began seeing Dr. Krall over 10 years ago.

I wrote in here months ago about how the food industry is making billions selling Americans unhealthful processed chemical-laden and natural-flavor-laden food. This kind of food is cheaper so a lot of people on a limited income are tempted to buy it. There’s no “food desert.” It’s simple economics: cheap is cheap.

Yet “garbage in, garbage out” is no way to live and to fuel our bodies and our minds. We shouldn’t have to wrestle providers to the mat to get the best evidence-based treatments for our mental and physical health.

I realize that a lot of people with schizophrenia have negative symptoms like a lack of motivation. Yet why can’t healthcare come to them when they can’t come to the healthcare? Why can’t services be under one roof in one medical center for mental and physical health?

Why is the DUP invariably too long for most people? Why is delayed treatment the norm? What can we do to better help create better life outcomes for those of us whose delayed treatment caused their disability to progress–often permanently?

The unvarnished truth is that average Americans don’t think people with schizophrenia and other mental illnesses are worth saving. We’re placed at the bottom of the barrel and forgotten. See my Left of the Dial blog for yesterday’s and tomorrow’s reporting on why this is the case.

Speaking out is the only way to go: to show others that we’re not going away and we won’t let ourselves and others be relegated to the bottom.

Taking action is the only way to go: to demand the services we need.

I decided to do my part by publishing my memoir Left of the Dial to show that permanent disability does not have to remain the norm and it shouldn’t be the norm.

Quicker, individualized treatment?

Yes. Yes. And Yes.

Breaking RAISE Study News

Ken Duckworth, M.D. Nami Medical Director has written about the RAISE Study:

“Findings from Dr. Kane’s RAISE=ETP study revealed that the impact of coordinated specialty care intervention was much stronger if the person had had psychosis symptoms for less than 74 weeks.

This shows how critical it is to make access to services easier, and to improve awareness and attitudes toward people seeking help if they have symptoms of psychosis.

This is consistent with previous findings that show that it matters how soon a person gets help: There is an ideal window of time in which to get the best services to people with early schizophrenia.”

This isn’t news to me and hasn’t been news to me at all. My memoir Left of the Dial verifies that getting treatment within 24 hours enabled me to have a better life for the rest of my life. No kidding.

Critics think the cost of first-episode psychosis treatment (FEP) might be too high to justify this new model of enhanced care. Stop right there. Human beings experiencing first-episode psychosis should not be left to get sicker and sicker while the government and consumers and haters dicker and bicker over whether we should spend the money or even provide treatment at all.

Just a thought: the research is promising yet real-life stories corroborate the truth: early intervention results in a better life-long outcome. My friend with schizophrenia got treatment within five days when he was 13 and he rose up to become the CEO of corporations.

I tell you: recovery is not only possible it’s probable when a person gets the right treatment right away. I will do what it takes to advance recovery for everyone and not only that I champion remission for everyone too.

We might not get there in my lifetime–it’s possible not everyone will recover and that the number will remain at near 75 percent.

Yet recovery and remission for everyone is the best goal. I’m willing to fight for this even if it won’t be possible in my lifetime.

We must each of us dream big because the gutter is nowhere to keep our sights set–even if other people aim to keep us there.

I’ll end here by saying rise up–don’t settle for average or ordinary. It’s just as easy to dream big as it is to settle for less.

Shoot for recovery because you’re worth it.


RAISEing Hell

The RAISE study is a game-changer.

I will tell everyone I meet about how this study proves that getting the right treatment right away results in a better recovery outcome.

We are now at a fork in the road. We and our treatment providers can continue to go down the same failed path. Or we can set out on the road that now lies before us: hope not hell, dignity instead of permanent disability.

The news about the RAISE study has forced me to consider taking the blogs in a new direction.

From now on: I will focus on right here, right now and what’s possible.

I will write and talk and act with the expectation that I and others living with mental illnesses are accorded the right to individualized treatment as soon as we’re diagnosed.

This expectation will impact my focus in the blogs. It has gotten “old hat” to write about the failures. That history of failed treatment, of cookie-cutter treatment, of the denial of treatment rightly should have an expiration date stamped “Today.”

As always, I will use a sense of humor to impart the wisdom I’ve gained living in recovery for 28 years now.

It’s time to move forward. It’s time for treatment providers to use the asset model approach to devise treatment plans created with input from the very patients whose lives are at stake.

We cannot wait any longer for our providers to “get with the program.” We must assert our right to be given the right treatment right away.

I’ll end here with this:

Expect respect. Strive for excellence: in your life as a person and in your treatment as a patient.

The RAISE Study

The Recovery After Initial Schizophrenia Episode (RAISE) Study that was implemented in 2010 and has ended proved that early intervention with the right treatment–individualized therapy, family education, medications, and job and education support– resulted in a better outcome for study participants.

I have been THE champion for getting the right treatment right away for over a decade now. Today I’m no longer a lone wolf barking or braying or doing whatever wolves do in the wilderness with no one listening to them.

The study results were so spectacular that our government allocated increased funds for this early intervention program that could be rolled out in 100 to 120 mental health centers across America soon.

Just the facts: the RAISE study proved that getting the right treatment right away results in a better recovery outcome.

Just the truth: no young person who is capable of so much more in life should be relegated to warming a chair in a traditional day program long-term.

We now have proof positive that getting the right treatment right away results in better life opportunities for individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia. No kidding.

My first-person account is remarkable because I accomplished everything I did long before getting the right treatment right away was ever possible for someone like me. I was hospitalized within 24 hours and placed on medication and three weeks later the symptoms were gone. Three years later I obtained a job as an administrative assistant and six months after that I moved into my own apartment.

The time is now. The time is now to call or write our elected officials in Washington and tell them: “Get off your asses. Get your fingers out of the money in the big business cookie jar. Use the billions you spend on creating unnecessary wars to fund early intervention for schizophrenia patients.”

We bombed to destruction a Doctors Without Borders hospital. We ruined Iraq’s indigenous natural agriculture and replaced it with GMO crops after  the U.S. paid millions of dollars to consultants after the farmland was destroyed.

We did absolutely nothing in Rwanda and Darfur. We have a history of picking and choosing the countries we bomb or fund. I suspect we did nothing in Cambodia when Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge annihilated thousands of its citizens. I read once that the Khmer Rouge killed people who wore eyeglasses because it was thought people who wore eyeglasses were part of the intelligensia.

Imagine: a world without war.

Imagine: a society where the U.S. government spends billions on mental health instead of using that money to create wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Imagine: a society where the U.S. government puts ordinary people above the profits of big business.

Deregulation is not the answer. Monsanto polluted a town’s waterways with PCBs and this caused the town to be a ghost town whose former residents all developed cancer and died.

Tell me again why deregulation is a good thing when agribusinesses are allowed to destroy the Earth: our only home for ourselves and future generations.

Tell me again why spending billions to bomb Muslim countries is the government’s answer to terrorism. Terrorists will always pop up like ducks in a shooting gallery game at an amusement park. Spending billions to start wars hasn’t stopped any terrorists in their tracks.

The trickle-down theory is a myth too. It doesn’t work in reality.

Now I tell you again:

Call or e-mail your elected officials in Washington on Tuesday, October 20th. A briefing is being held between 2:00 and 4:00 p.m. in the Rayburn building to lobby for increased funding for FEP (first-episode psychosis) via the RAISE intervention and other programs.

Tuesday, October 20th is the date.

You can e-mail your congressperson and senator on October 20th to tell them: “We’re mad as hell, and we’re not going to take it anymore. Getting the right treatment right away enables individuals who’ve had a first break to succeed in life. Instead of becoming permanently disabled. Do it. Do it today. Fund FEP.”

Go on those government websites to log on to your elected official’s homepage where you can send them an e-mail.

I tell you: war is good for absolutely nothing circa 2015. We don’t need another war.

We need mental health treatment given right away that gives every person diagnosed with schizophrenia the equal opportunity to have a better life.

The RAiSE Study Information.