Letter to the Editor

This message will be very shortly be followed by a longer one that will further explain the very important — but unfortunately — also very politically incorrect psychiatric diagnosis of “Substance Dependency-Induced Psychosis” (SDIP).

This label has, effectively, been applied to it by the Psychiatric Establishment. Combined with the economically incorrect label by the pharmaceutical industry — both been successful in making this diagnosis unavailable to the public.

I am a psychiatrist with a special interest in substance dependency — who has been on an over 25 year quest to get this diagnosis officially established. There is very impressive evidence for the validity of the diagnosis. As a direct result of my efforts, the state of California currently uses knowledge of the diagnosis in its mental health system planning — though it avoids any official mention of the diagnosis.

SDIP resembles schizophrenia, which it’s usually diagnosed as. It is also nearly as common as schizophrenia. One third of the SDIP cases I have treated have enjoyed a complete remission — which is usually permanent. Most of these cases had already been diagnosed as schizophrenic. The good results were a combination of their receiving the proper treatment, and the fact that SDIP patients are usually less ill than schizophrenia patients.

Most cases of “full recovery from schizophrenia” are actually cases of SDIP, where the persons have stopped their addictive substance use. However, lifelong abstinence is often not sufficient for any remission of the psychosis.

It is a particular shame that knowledge of the risk of developing this illness has not been made available to persons who are undergoing treatment for substance dependencies. Making such available would increase the rate of recovery for them — and thus also help to greatly reduce the rate of later SDIP complications.

It is already well known in psychiatry that there is a large degree of association of the diagnoses of schizophrenia (and other functional psychoses) with those of substance dependencies. But this association and the sequence of these disorders have largely been ignored. This is because the association has been explained away by the theoretical and convenient “biological spin” that it is due to their “common genetic factors.”

Unfortunately, there has been a sad absence of any effective whistleblowers for the diagnosis. I am now convinced that the most likely way to get this very valuable diagnosis available to the public would be for the media to adequately report on the diagnosis.

Such would almost certainly soon result in public pressure “persuading” one or more medical schools to perform the necessary clinical trial for the diagnosis.

Sincerely trying to improve mental health care,

Norman Jay Gersabeck MD
ngersabeck (at) comcast.net