Restriction of Access to Guns Reduces Suicide Rates

On May 18th, 2003, Switzerland in a referendum approved a reform of their army, which accounted for the changed security situation in Central Europe. With the reform (called Army XXI), especially a significant reduction in troop strength was connected. In 2003, Switzerland had approximately 400,000 soldiers, after the reform, their number halved to 200,000. The soldiers went into retirement earlier than before (at the age of 33 instead of 43 years), the number of recruits decreased, and the price of the weapon for which the soldiers traditionally could buy their weapon after their retirement increased. In addition, a firearms license was required. The reform had the consequence of a significant reduction in the number of available firearms in Switzerland.

Thomas Reisch from the Psychiatric University Hospital in Bern, Switzerland, and colleagues now report in The American Journal of Psychiatry on their investigation of the change in suicide rates in Switzerland after the army reform (Reisch et al., Am J Psychiatry 2013; 170:977-984). Continue reading

Can Long-Term Treatment with Antipsychotics lead to Structural Brain Damage?

In the September issue of the German journal Der Nervenarzt appears a “pros and cons” debate on the topic: “Can long-term treatment with antipsychotics lead to structural brain damage?”. The “pro” position is represented by Volkmar Aderhold and colleagues, I have written the “contra” position (Gründer, Der Nervenarzt 2013; 84: 1120-1122).

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Antipsychotics: Less is Again More

It is now clinical standard and recommended by all treatment guidelines to continue an antipsychotic maintenance therapy for at least 12 months after remission of the first psychotic episode. Numerous studies have shown that the risk of relapse is significantly increased, if a drug treatment is terminated prematurely. In the September issue of JAMA Psychiatry Lex Wunderink and colleagues from the Netherlands, however, question these treatment habits at least in part (Wunderink et al., JAMA Psychiatry 2013; 70: 913-920). Continue reading


Dear Readers,

I was informed today by an attentive reader that the comment function of my blog did not work. This was due to an incompatibility of two of the plugins I’m using. The problem should now have been resolved.

I appreciate every comment.

Yours sincerely,

Gerd Gründer