Baby aspirin as a possible treatment for schizophrenia

I’ve said it many times. I’m a slow learner. For several years I have read the news and reports about the latest theory that conditions like schizophrenia, bipolar, and depression are linked to the body’s autoimmune system producing a low grade inflammation of the gut and brain. I set this theory aside, figuring that by the time pharma produces a new medication with side effects, another theory will have taken hold.

Last night I was wide awake at 2 a.m., my thoughts pinballing their way as usual around my brain. I was trying to get back to sleep by practicing mindfulness techniques, when suddenly I had a eureka moment. Baby aspirin! Why not baby aspirin for schizophrenia? It’s an anti-inflammatory. I’ve been taking baby aspirin for the past three years to reduce the risk of inflammation leading to heart attack and stroke, but it never occurred to  me to think that it might also be considered a possible treatment for schizophrenia.

This morning I did a bit of google research and discovered that, indeed, researchers have been on to this possibility for several years. If you “do the research” like I did (lol) you’ll see that some articles are quick to say that baby aspirin appears to be an effective “add on” to your normal intake of antipsychotics or antidepressants. Just an add on, not taken on its own. But it you dig a bit further, you’ll come across a different story – that some scientists hope that anti-inflammatory agents such as baby aspirin may eventually  replace the need for prescription drugs.

From the website of a for-profit treatment center: “A number of studies in recent years have drawn connections between schizophrenia and the immune system and have suggested that anti-inflammatory medications may improve treatment of this illness. The immune system has been linked to various psychiatric disorders, and research has associated the HLA gene system in particular (a system that plays a controlling role in various aspects of the immune system) with schizophrenia.

The Dutch study looked at a range of the best of these studies—all double-blind, randomized controlled trials—in order to determine if there was strong evidence in favor of the use of anti-inflammatory medications in combination with antipsychotic drugs. They found that a number of anti-inflammatory agents improved the results of antipsychotic drugs for schizophrenic patients.”

From an article in The Daily Mail:

“As soon as the word depression is mentioned, we tend to think of a mental problem that may need treatment with antidepressant drugs, with all their risk of side-effects such as weight gain and loss of libido.

But what if it actually has a physical cause that could be treated with anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen, or even antibiotics?

This is the fascinating possibility being explored by scientists at Cambridge University.”

“The Cambridge team’s hope is that by teasing out the link between inflammation and depression, they may be able to help prevent thousands of deaths among those who suffer from the mood disorder — and prevent people needlessly being on antidepressant drugs.

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Recovery and peer support, or the medical model. Why must it be “either/or”?

Today’s post is from Pete Earley’s blog. There is yet another battle currently being waged in the United States, this time over the appointment of the Assistant Secretary of Mental Health and Substance Abuse. The introductory paragraph is clear as to what issues are at stake.

Harvey Rosenthal: The “Worried Well” – A False Narrative Meant To Divide


(5-15-17) I bumped into Harvey Rosenthal recently at the National Council on Behavioral Health Care convention in Seattle and invited him to write a guest blog. Harvey is Executive Director of the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services and one of the best known advocates for recovery and peer support services. Given what seems to be a constant battle being waged between the “medical model” that focuses on medication adherence and the “recovery model” that focuses on peer support and other social services, I thought it would helpful to hear his point of view, especially because a new Assistant Secretary of Mental Health and Substance Abuse will soon be appointed.)

Re-Balancing Federal Policy Need Not Have To Choose Between Extremes


For far too long, advocates for court mandated outpatient commitment have promoted the false narrative that recovery, rehabilitation and peer support providers and advocates don’t want to serve Americans with the most serious conditions…..and that our motivation in supporting the redirection of public funds from hospital to community is simply to capture public dollars for our own purposes. In contrast, these groups have outrageously played upon unfounded connections between violence and mental illness to promote a singular one-size-fit-all prescription of “more meds, more beds and more coercion.”

Along the way, these groups have promoted beliefs that a recovery and rehab focus only applies to the ‘worried well’ and excludes the most distressed, that peer support is inevitably against treatment and medication and that rights advocates are only interested in helping people in the greatest need to avoid such treatment?In recent years, subscribers to these beliefs have succeeded in capturing the attention and support of conservative Republicans, think tanks and the tabloids. They have heavily informed the efforts of self-styled mental health reformer Rep. Tim Murphy and are apparently poised to see the appointment of an apparently like-minded first HHS Assistant Secretary for Mental Health Services.

Advocates across our spectrum must join together to educate both the Senate that will be confirming the first HHS Secretary Read the rest of the post here