MORE needs to be done in the field of psychiatry to explore the process of becoming a chronic patient. It is obvious, however, that chronicity is not a prerogative of the patient alone, but often pervades the modus operandi of several staff members, or of an entire area of the institution. This study attempts to explore only a small segment of this complex problem; namely, the prescribing of psychotropic drugs in chronic hospitalized patients.
One characteristic aspect of clinical records is the large collection of medication forms on which the prescribing of a tranquilizing agent is repeated with monotonous regularity for months and years. No significant change in the type of drugs, dosage, or time schedule breaks the repetitious pattern. If side effects occur, the addition of an anti-parkinsonian agent seems to be preferred to a decrease in the dosage of