Jan. 19, 2022 – After many years of inadequate responses to countless antipsychotic medications, Robert had a dramatic response to one of the newer atypicals, and was heading toward discharge from the state hospital. In a sudden and tragic turn of events, however, Robert decompensated after learning that his longstanding, supportive social worker was transferred to another hospital. Neugeboren was shocked and perplexed by this reversal, and asked: “Why did the medication that worked so well—so miraculously—on Monday stop working on Tuesday?” His answer: “Because Robert was deprived of a relationship that had been a crucial element in his recovery.” Neugeboren went on to relate that the lesson learned was one he encountered repeatedly in his interviews with hundreds of recovered patients:

“Some pointed to new medications, some to old; some said they had found God; some attributed their transformation to a particular program, but no matter what else they named, they all—every last one—said that a key element was a relationship with a human being. Most of the time, this human being was a professional—a social worker, a nurse, a doctor. Sometimes it was a clergyman or family member. In every instance, though, it was the presence in their lives of an individual who said, in effect, ‘I believe in your ability to recover, and I am going to stay with you until you do’ that brought them back.”


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