This text deals with the multidiscipline approach to the treatment and rehabilitation of chronically regressed patients. The authors report on a research project conducted at Massachusetts mental hospitals from 1956 through 1963. The editors limited this report by focusing on two major problems— the treatment of regressed patients and the effectiveness of tranquilizing drugs in two contrasting hospital settings, a state hospital and a university center.
The authors indicate that long-hospitalized patients who are labeled "chronic" vary greatly in their ability to change. Throughout the years some psychiatrists have alleged improvement in chronic schizophrenia by electroshock therapy, insulin coma, lobotomy, psychotherapy, and chemotherapy. These claims cannot be confirmed by careful studies. Multiple regressive electroshocks have not reduced reservoir of chronic patients. The use of insulin coma has declined rapidly in the last ten years. The authors indicate that lobotomy has resulted in long term benefits for many patients.