This story of a father guiding his son from despair to hope is a chilling, inspiring journey through the mysterious tunnel of schizophrenia--a world once closed and forbidding, now suddenly radiating excitement as thousands of patients are, in effect, being reborn.
Jeff Wyden, a bright, happy boy in childhood, began to withdraw in adolescence, and by the age of twenty-one was severely psychotic, disconnected from reality. He was schizophrenic. In the ensuing twenty-five years, Peter Wyden accompanied his son into a hell without certainties as they searched for a solution.
We see them pass through the hands of more than fifty psychiatrists and countless hospitals, clinics, and halfway houses. Doctors and health-care providers help and sometimes hinder both father and son in their odyssey through hypnosis, electroshock, dozens of drug therapies, and disabling "side effects."
Throughout their ordeal, the father's management of his son's managers is his daily task, self-assigned despite self-doubt. He is alternately tolerant and challenging while he observes and learns, always primed for more of Jeff's mercurial signs of new crises.
Along the way we learn about the history of the treatment of schizophrenia, from barbaric stopgaps like prefrontal lobotomy to the biomedical treatments that have revolutionized psychiatry. And finally, there is the new drug Olanzapine--a godsend for Jeff, and reason for cheer. It is not a cure, but many consider it the safest, most effective treatment to date (the first of similar medications recently licensed by the Food and Drug Administration, with more on the way). The story of its development is told here for the first time.
Until now, few of us have realized that two and a half million Americans, mostly young and intelligent, are schizophrenic, merely existing through the decades, separated from reason, rendered dysfunctional by the costly and little-understood disease. Fifty million people worldwide suffer from it. This compelling and enlightening book offers useful information about what can be done for them today--and the hope of more help to come.
About Peter Wyden
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Published January 27, 1998
by Random House, Inc..
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