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  • Print publication year: 1996
  • Online publication date: May 2010

16 - Neuroleptic treatment effects in relation to psychotherapy, social skills training, and social withdrawal in schizophrenics



There is a substantial literature bearing on the effects of neuroleptics on cognitive or attention/information processing dysfunction (A/IP) in schizophrenics. The focus in most of the studies concerned with these issues has been on the question of whether neuroleptics normalize or impair cognitive functioning. The predominant findings in such studies have been that neuroleptics do not so much impair as they normalize, partially and selectively, cognitive functioning (see Spohn & Strauss, 1989). In a series of studies over the last 15 years, my associates and I have made contributions to this literature. In the present context, however, we seek to consider our findings from a novel perspective. First we review our findings that some forms of thought disorder and A/IP dysfunctions appear to be normalized by neuroleptic treatment. This review will set the stage for the question, What do such findings imply for psychotherapy and rehabilitation programs involving schizophrenic patients and, more generally, what do they imply for how such patients function in the interpersonal environment? The second part of this chapter is, in a sense, a variation on its first and main theme. As already noted, in a series of studies we have identified acute episode dysfunctions which are normalized by neuroleptics and dysfunctions evident in both acute episodes and remission which resist modification by neuroleptics in both phases.