And yet, when it comes to schizophrenia, a remarkable (and again controversial) study conducted by the World Health Organization in 1987 showed that diagnosed schizophrenics had better long-term outcomes in developing world countries where anti-psychotics were not available than those in developed countries where they were. These findings, too, are disputed, but in 27 years of subsequent research, no one has disproven them either. Is it better not to take these drugs at all?
This level of uncertainty is not unusual in scientific communities. Despite the vague cultural notion of science as providing The Answers, most of those answers have asterisks next to them, and most generate further questions, especially in contexts as complex as the human brain.
But the notion that Abilify is simply a thermostat that you adjust up or down—I’m feeling a little blue today, I think I’ll kick it up a notch—is surely hard to justify. I’d wager most users aren’t even aware that it’s an anti-psychotic drug that’s used to treat schizophrenia. I wonder if they’d be paying $6.9 billion for it if they did.