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Loren Richard Mosher (born 1933; died July 10 2004) was a psychiatrist and expert on schizophrenia who founded the first Soteria houses. He was chief of the National Institute of Mental Health's Center for the Study of Schizophrenia from 1968 to 1980, but was dismissed from the National Institute of Mental Health, and later resigned from the American Psychiatric Association in 1998, for controversially disagreeing with prevailing psychiatric practice and the influence of pharmaceutical companies.
Mosher was born in Monterey, California, United States. He graduated from Stanford University and Harvard University medical school, starting work at NIMH in 1964. He undertook research training at the Tavistock Clinic in London from 1966 to 1967 and developed an interest in alternative treatments for schizophrenia.
He created the first Soteria House in the early 1970s. He believed that the violent and controlling atmosphere of psychiatric hospitals and the over-use of drugs hindered recovery. The Soteria Project closed in 1983 when funding dried up.
Mosher is said to have had a far more nuanced view of the use of drugs than has been generally thought, and did not reject drugs altogether but insisted they be used as a last resort and in far lower doses than usual in the United States.
After dismissal from NIMH, he taught psychiatry at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda and became head of the public mental health system in Montgomery County. He started a crisis house in Rockville, McAuliffe House, based on Soteria principles.
He wrote many scientific journal papers and co-wrote several books, including "Community Mental Health: A Practical Guide" (1994). During the Ritalin phenomenon of the 1990s, he was often featured as a dissenting view in scores of articles. He was the founder and first editor in chief of Schizophrenia Bulletin.
Mosher worked closely for years with many advocacy groups, including the psychiatric survivor group MindFreedom International.
Dr. Mosher moved to San Diego from Washington in 1996. He became clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California at San Diego medical school.
He was married to, and later divorced, Irene Carleton Mosher.
At the time of his death he was in Berlin for experimental cancer treatment.
Survivors included his wife, Judy Schreiber, three children from the first marriage, a granddaughter, and two brothers.
Adam Bernstein (2004) Contrarian Psychiatrist Loren Mosher, 70 Washington Post, Metro, Obituaries, Tuesday, July 20, Page B06
Jeanne Lenzer (2004) Obituary: Loren Mosher BMJ 2004;329:463 (21 August)
- Mosher, Loren M.D. (Chief of the Center for Studies of Schizophrenia at the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health 1969–1980) Still Crazy After All These Years
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