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June 1959

Drug Therapy, Milieu Change, and Release from a Mental Hospital

Author Affiliations

Bethesda, Md.

AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1959;81(6):785-794. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1959.02340180119015

Introduction  The concept "therapeutic milieu" implies that the relations of mental hospital patients to each other and to the hospital staff can be structured to encourage recovery. In contrast to milieu as therapy, the tranquilizing drugs employ physiological means to effect action within individual patients. However, milieu effects may be interwoven with drug effects.*This study was designed to answer questions about milieu changes concurrent with the use of the tranquilizing drugs chlorpromazine and reserpine. The questions were as follows:

  1. Are patients treated with chlorpromazine or reserpine in their first admission to a mental hospital more likely to be released to the community during the first year of hospitalization than a comparable group of patients hospitalized before the use of drugs?

  2. Are patients not treated with chlorpromazine or reserpine but hospitalized for the first time during the recent period of drug therapies more likely to be released to the community

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