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Can Psychopharmacologic Treatments That Relieve Symptoms Also Prevent Disease Progression?

Stephen M. Stahl

Published: November 1, 2002

Article Abstract

Numerous psychiatric disorders are hypothetically linked to a vulnerable genome that can trigger illness when meeting adverse environmental experiences. Some disorders may be more highly biologically endowed, such as Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder, whereas others may be more strongly linked to environmental exposure, such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other anxiety disorders, medical and cardiac complications of stress, substance abuse, and chronic pain. Currently, our therapeutic approach to psychiatric disorders is largely to wait until symptoms are overtly expressed and, once symptoms interfere with social or occupational functioning, to treat them, usually reducing but not removing symptoms.

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