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Norway: first drug-free psychiatric hospital

Norway: first drug-free psychiatric hospital

Asgard Psychiatric Hospital, in the Norwegian city of Tromso - ABC

It has been the pressure of the patients that has led the Government to open the first section of psychiatric treatment without drugs in the world

After Murmansk in Russia, Norway's Tromso is the second largest city in Lapland. Here, 1,650 kilometers north of Oslo, is the Asgard Psychiatric Hospital, which has been commissioned by the Norwegian Ministry of Health to treat psychiatric patients without drugs: "medikamentfritt behandlingstilbud" (drug-free treatment) says the sign of one of the wards of this remote hospital near the Arctic Circle built in the Cold War.

The pressure of Norwegian psychiatric patients and their families to decide whether to take medication or not has had an effect on the health authorities of the Scandinavian country and has opened a global debate: voluntary medication.

The abuse of the pharmacological approach in Western societies is not surprising when studies are mainly funded by the pharmaceutical industry to promote the use of their drugs. Faced with the passivity of doctors regarding this reality, it has been the patients who have pressed the Oslo mandate to open the first section of psychiatric treatment without drugs in the world.

The non-medication unit of the psychiatric hospital is located on one of the floors of this building: the principle that governs the room inaugurated this year - six beds and in the trial phase - is that patients here have the right to choose their treatment and that The care of professionals must be organized around that choice.

"We need to take this patient's perspective into account as well as the doctor's perspective," says Magnus Hald, head of psychiatric services at the University Hospital of North Norway.

“Before we told patients what was best for them, but now we ask them what they really want and they can decide,” adds Merete Astrup, director of the unit without medication. This hospital in Lapland will not be the first, the Norwegian Ministry of Health has already ordered four regional health authorities to implement drug-free treatments in its facilities.

J. P. Jofré for ABC Madrid

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Video: Breaking The Silence Mental Health Documentary. Real Stories (October 2020).