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'A landmark in psychiatric progress'? The role of evidence in the rise and fall of insulin coma therapy

Freudenthal, R; Moncrieff, J; (2021) 'A landmark in psychiatric progress'? The role of evidence in the rise and fall of insulin coma therapy. History of Psychiatry 10.1177/0957154X211062538. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

This paper examines the evidence behind the use and decline of insulin coma therapy as a treatment for schizophrenia and how this was viewed by the psychiatric profession. The paper demonstrates that, from the time of its introduction, there was considerable debate regarding the evidence for insulin treatment, and scepticism about its purported benefits. The randomized trials conducted in the 1950s were the result, rather than the origins, of this debate. Although insulin treatment was subsequently abandoned, it was still regarded as a historic moment in the modernization of psychiatry. Then, as now, evidence does not speak for itself, and insulin continued to be incorporated into the story of psychiatric progress even after it was shown to be ineffective.

Type: Article
Title: 'A landmark in psychiatric progress'? The role of evidence in the rise and fall of insulin coma therapy
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/0957154X211062538
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1177/0957154X211062538
Language: English
Additional information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage).
Keywords: History of psychiatry, insulin coma therapy, insulin shock, treatment of schizophrenia, ‘The insulin myth’
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Division of Psychiatry
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10141234
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