CHAIR: Wolfgang Gaebel

LVR Klinikum Düsseldorf, Kliniken der Heinrich Heine-Universität Düsseldorf,
Bergische Landstrasse, 2, 40629 Düsseldorf, Germany    
Phone: 49 211 922 2000
Fax: 49 211 922 2020
Veronica W. Larach Veronica W. Larach
Universidad de Chile, Facultad de Medicina, Dept. de Psiquiatra y Salud Mental,
Campus Sur, Los Los Carpinteros, Los Condes, Santiago 10182, Chile    
Phone: 56 9 699 1037
Fax: 56 2 217 0370
SECRETARY: Peter Falkai Peter Falkai
Georg-August-Universitaet Goettingen, Klinik und Poliklinik fuer Psychiatrie
und Psychotherapie, Von-Siebold-Str. 5, 37075 Goettingen, Germany    
Phone: 49 551 39 66 10/11
Fax: 49 551 39 93 37


 >> Please click here to see the Section Members list.

About 1% of the world population is affected by schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is amongst the 10 disorders with the greatest loss of disability adjusted life years. It is also the most expensive psychiatric disorder due to its high indirect costs. In the context of the vulnerability-stress-coping model, research has accumulated a lot of evidence for the biological origin of the disorder as well as the psychosocial modulation of course and outcome. However, the increasing knowledge is not yet adequately transferred into clinical practice.

Despite improvement in pharmacological and psychosocial treatments, short- and long-term outcome of the disorder are still unsatisfactory due to illness non-response, patient noncompliance, doctors nonconformity with treatment guidelines, treatment side-effects and residual symptomatology. Structural deficits in out-patient care, insufficient functional cooperation between in-patient, day-care, out-patient and complementary mental healthcare facilities, heterogeneous structures of care provision and funding, insufficient resources for psychoeducation and rehabilitation, and insufficient financial reimbursement for ‘expensive’ treatment strategies all contribute to interface problems and to unmet individual treatment needs. Part of this dilemma is the public stigmatization and discrimination of people with schizophrenia which impedes their equal treatment in comparison with somatic patients.

Consequently, only increased public awareness and information about the illness will help preventive measures to become acceptable and hence effective.

Against this background the WPA-Section on Schizophrenia was founded on occasion of the WPA World Congress of Psychiatry in Yokohama, 2002.

2. Aims

Aims of the section are to contribute to WPA activities to improve the lives of people with schizophrenia and their families through appropriate activities (see 4.).

3. Difference from other WPA sections

Besides sections on various disorders, e.g. affective disorders, various basic, e.g. psychoneuroendocrinology or methodological disciplines, e.g. neuroimaging, psychiatric subdisciplines, e.g. child & adolescent psychiatry and others relating to heterogeneous topics, e.g. mass media or conflict management, there is no section comparable to a schizophrenia section. On the other hand, a number of activities of the WPA are concerned with schizophrenia in particular, e.g. the WPA Consensus Statement on Usefulness and Use of Second Generation Antipsychotic Medications and Open the Doors - The WPA Global Programme Against Stigma and Discrimination Because of Schizophrenia. It is planned, not only to contribute to these activities and to cooperate with the other sections and bodies of the WPA, but also to initiate illness related new activities in agreement with the Executive Committee.

4. Activities

The above mentioned aims should be reached by means of:

  • Promoting illness-specific diagnostics, treatments, and services with reference to evidence-based psychiatry, e.g. development of practice guidelines
  • Engaging in the development and dissemination of materials for professional education and public information,
  • Initiating, promoting or coordinating research in various related fields,
  • Contributing to activities against stigma and discrimination,
  • Improving networking between service and research, building on respective activities in some countries,
  • Coordinating activities and cooperating with other national and international professional and nonprofessional organisations in the field,
  • Organizing conferences and participating actively in WPA congress activities.

As a first step to be taken as decided by the Section Committee Treatment Guidelines on Schizophrenia from all over the world will be compiled and made available via the internet. A further will be to write commentaries and come up with recommendations based on available guidelines.

Schizophrenia Practice Guidelines - An International Survey and Comparison 

Comparison of key recommendations between guidelines   
5. Section Committee

The section brings together experts from different countries and fields of expertise related to schizophrenia. The Section Committee consists of the following officers:

Chair: Wolfgang Gaebel (Germany)  
Co-chair: Veronica Larach W. (Chile)  
Secretary: Peter Falkai (Germany)  

6. Section members

Section members are recruited with regard to their expertise in the field and their ability and readiness to actively engage in section activities. In addition they should be from various regions of the world to bring in different perspectives and to function as multiplicators in their regions on schizophrenia related matters.




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