Science 2.0 - Is Schizophrenia A Real Illness?


#2

I think it’s good to have this conversation. It can be used as a weapon, just like lobotomies were used against dissenting Vietnam vets. My greatest fear is the over-saturation of schizophrenia, much like the movie “Sybil” brought on more cases of Multiple Personality Disorder in adult women than previously, by the 1,000’s. When my mom was first diagnosed, it was major depression and borderline that were the fad. She was put on Prozac and had a manic episode. She may have originally had Bipolar but psychiatry instilled a fear in her and hatred of institutions.

She wanted to overcome it holistically and was doing the best when she was attempting to self heal TBH, for about 10 years my mom was fine without medication until she reached her early forties, and then became psychotic at her parents wedding anniversary. She has always had minor and grand delusions of persecution but she also is aware of a lot more than most people. I feel she was stigmatized too much by the system for her to trust it. She was a peace activist too, so seeing this terrorism and war-mongering from politicians really broke her down over time. She’s very smart and if she was able to have insight again it might help her…to realize that everything is not lost.

I think having a mix of both sides is important. Both my parents are good people. Do we want these diagnoses to become justification for isolation and rejection? I wish I knew what my life would’ve been like had I never been put on anti-psychotics.


#3

There is a lot of confusion and too many grey areas when it comes to these mental illnesses, especially schizophrenia.
There are no valid tests to diagnose SZ so a psychiatrist has to resort to asking a bunch of questions during a limited amount of time.

I do know that once you are labeled with SZ OR SZA it is usually for life- this is not so true with other mental illnesses.
Getting stuck with a SZ label automatically makes you a non credible human being - others are constantly questioning you,judging you and stigmatizing you

  • if they are not openly doing this, they are thinking this.

#4

If depression is an illness and its curebale, than schizophrenia is curable as well, neuroscientists need to discover new neurotransmitters that causes schizophrenia. As with depression, we know serotonine, norepinpherine play role in mood, and once its balanced the depression goes away.

On my last visit to my pdoc, i told him to change my diagnosis, since i dont believe that i have SZA, but he says he cant change it, because its already there.


#6

It’s not a disease.

They are in my head.

Delusions, hallucinations, it was all just them.


#9

Ive always been more a believer in psychology than psychiatry, well even religion as a cure.


#11

I am all for self-determination but it’s not to be confused with denial.

There are clear signs of a disease process in sz:


#12

Disorder, illness - I don’t know what it is, bit it is real. And greatly relieved by medication.


#13

Schizophrenia is an illness! dictionary.com:
1: Illness: unhealthy condition; poor health, indisposition, sickness.
2: Disease: a disorder or incorrectly functioning organ, part, structure, or system of the body resulting from the effect of genetic or developmental errors, infections, poisons, nutritional deficiency or imbalance, toxicity, or unfavorable environmental factors; illness; sickness; ailment.

A person suffering from Schizophrenia is in a state illness because they are in an unhealthy condition of the mind. They are not able to control their thoughts, and therefor hear and see things that are not real and may become life hindering if left untreated. Schizophrenia fits the second word I listed as well because it is a dysfunctional organ (brain). Schizophrenia is an illness, it may not have a cure yet because human’s haven’t fully become of aware of the genetics of their brains and body’s and how each individual reacts to the same situation differently.

It is not cureable because the sickness is not fully understood. We understand the more common symptoms such as hallucinations and delusion, we know they are not real but people with Schizophrenia experience them and because of the illness or lack of knowledge they can not distinguish the fact that they are only in the patients head and no one else around them is seeing or hearing what they are.

Yet knowing what’s really happening around you will not always stop the hallucinations. I have a pretty strong grip on reality most of the time but still a delusional thought or a stray voice will play through my ears. I can usually push them away/ignore it but I’m on a lot of medication and it has taken me years of learning what is really around me and what isn’t that another person who is just showing signs of the disorder or who doesn’t have the medical care I do might not understand.

I still say it is an illness…it affects concentration because where a normal brain can focus on the the things around them our brains (at least mine) is not only trying to focus on just the real things happening around me but I have to stop and take time to determine if what is going on is real or not…yes most of the time my systems work but then there’s also extra noise I have to deal with that only I hear that makes it hard to focus on a specific hand say data entry, or trying to focus on a customer at a store when I’m seen additional people not really there and I’m not in the right mind frame I could easily slip up and make a mistake either in the customers favor or against the customer and then that could be bad for the store…and if my brain was perfectly healthy this wouldn’t be a problem.

Whatever people say causes their disorder doesn’t matter it is an illness of the brain, doesn’t really matter at this point. It can be caused by several factors but ultimately it boils down to the brain and how we function as individuals, and until we can fully map our brain and know what every 100 billion neurons does and what it controls in the human body Schizophrenia in my point of view will always be an incurable disease of the mind.

I’m sure some day it can be cured, we will unlock the potential of or mind’s capacity, but right now we’re not there yet. Just think they didn’t have a vaccine for the measles until 1963…and considering that is a clearly definable illness with a certain type of symptoms. The problem with Schizophrenia is not everyone wants to label it as a disease unless someone does a horrific crime like mass murders, or tries to drive into an ocean with a truck full of kids.


#14

I think it all depends on whether you want to call something that causes impairment in functioning and distress an illness . Certainly what gets called “schizophrenia” causes a lot of problems for the individual and isn’t a sign of a higher state of being/consciousness or other such nonsense.


#16

All we have learned of psychotherapy suggests that it is at the precise time when the individual feels as if his whole life is crashing down around him, that he is most likely to achieve an inner reorganisation constituting a quantum leap in his growth toward maturity. Our hope, our belief, is that it is precisely when society’s future seems so beleaguered – when its problems seem almost staggering in complexity, when so many individuals seem alienated, and so many values seem to have deteriorated – that it is most likely to achieve a metamorphosis in society’s growth toward maturity, toward more truly enhancing and fulfilling the human spirit than ever before. Thus we envision the possibility of an evolutionary leap to a trans-industrial society that not only has know-how, but also a deep inner knowledge of what is worth doing.

— Willis Harman

I wouldn’t say it’s a sign of a higher state of being, but it can bring on creative experiences. I was more creative and intelligent before being on medication, but also before the psychosis set in. I’m not any less intelligent, but I’m not able to recall information as well. I can’t function if I’m not on Adderall sometimes, I get scared to drive because I can’t even recall road signs on the highway. I’m trying to increase my ability to recall information and conceptualize it. I feel more creative right now actually, and less stuck on the same patterns.

Carl Jung wrote The Red Book while experiencing his first states of psychosis. He used his psychosis experiences, and his techniques for individuation to come up with some amazing insights. Maybe not earth shattering. He didn’t claim to be a prophet. I found this blog online that analyzes psychosis through a Jungian perspective: http://jungianschizophrenia.blogspot.com/

*“Schizophrenia is a condition in which the dream takes the place of reality.” This means that the unconscious overwhelms the ego-consciousness, overwhelms the field of awareness with contents from the deepest unconscious, which take mythic, symbolic form. And the emotions, unless they’re hidden, are quite mythic too. To a careful observer, they’re quite appropriate to the situation at hand.

The way “schizophrenia” unfolds is that, in a situation of personal crisis, all the psyche’s energy is sucked back out of the personal, conscious area, into what we call the archetypal area. Mythic contents thus emerge from the deepest level of the psyche, in order to re-organise the Self. In so doing, the person feels himself withdrawing from the ordinary surroundings, and becomes quite isolated in this dream state."*


#17

Jung was around when the asylums were packed with the mentally ill. Jungian psychology didn’t exactly result in much curing/stabilising of those with schizophrenia .


#19

@AbAt hallucinations are not real entities.

As a Schizophrenic I have spent many, many years trying to grasp this concept.They solely exists in my own head. They cannot influence the world around me. They can influence myself to make changes i.e. when I was hallucinating that I had bugs crawling on me, I could feel the bugs on me, and see them…but only I could see them…what people around me saw was me scratching and itching and the marks on my body from that action. My hallucinations can threaten to harm me all they want but the only way that they can literally harm me is if I lose grasp of reality and listen to their influences and harm myself.

If Schizophrenia is not an illness then what is it? Why do I see someone sitting on the corner of my bed, but my mom who is in the same room with me doesn’t? Why can this creature not influence the world around it, i.e. I tell it to turn the light on, it may walk over to the light switch and act like it’s turning the light on but in reality I’m sitting in the dark.

As for earlier comment:

What was the medication for the flue before antibiotics where created What was the cure for diabetes before insulin was created? I don’t think you’ll ever change my opinion that Schizophrenia is not a disease of a mind, the difference is Schizophrenia is not communicable, except possibly through genetics, but then again simply because my mom is diabetic does not mean I will become diabetic myself so that is not a communicable disease either.

Just because I cannot pin point the exact spot where hallucinations happen…I’m not a Neurosurgeon, I have a very little knowledge about the human brain, and I’m not a Neuropharmacologist so I could not begin to understand medications that may treat the illness but there are some treatments out there that have helped people. I may not be able to hold a job but I am able to be among society because of my medications…otherwise I’d still be locked up in a mental institution or if we were back in 1800’s or whenever be locked up hidden away in an attic or basement room away from people.


#21

@AbAt Ye I have been officially diagnose as a Schizophrenic. I spent 6 months in a mental ward when I was 15/16 and at the time I believed I was someone different than who I was, living in a world that wasn’t real. I was talking to myself (or hallucinations in my head…), and ignoring the real world around me. I have since come out of that state of mind with the proper amount of therapy and medication. For a while the voices and hallucination were minor though I still had a strong sense of paranoia but I was able to go to college get an associates degree and find a somewhat stable job.

In 2007 I had a relapse with my illness and believed without a doubt that I was covered in bugs,most specifically crabs. I wasn’t sexually active (still a virgin actually) but there was a rumor at my place of employment that they had found traces of crabs in the female bathroom which I frequently used throughout the day and thus I thought I caught them from that. I didn’t have them but no matter what people told me I believe they were there. Turns out it was more of a yeast infection feeling than grabs and with the right cream the feeling went away and with adjustments to my medications the belief of crabs and other bus and the constant nightly panic attacks started dying down. I still wound up losing the job I had because I had to take a year to get my mind to calm back down to what I consider stable. (Meaning I can distinguish what is in my head and what is really going on around me…I cannot control the images in my head…I still have occasional hallucinations, I still have voices I can’t control going on in my head but I’m better at ignoring them and not responding to them as I would if I didn’t have my medications.

I did not make the mistake as I mentioned past hallucinations or current. I don’t hallucinate 24 hours 7 days a week…and some of the hallucinations I have now are not the same as I had in the past. When I was hallucinating I did not really know I was I was in a hallucination state but now that I am out of it I can tell they weren’t logical or real situations just hallucinations in my head.


#23

Your Mind” is your brain, that is where I feel “My mind.”

Your-self” is your personal soul…where it is located is unknown yet I believe everyone has one. After all I was watching a show that was speaking about organ transplants and how people may still pick up parts of the original “host”, if you will, skills, knowledge, memories, personal tastes…extra. But this can happen with any organ I believe because in the show they talked to many different transplant patients all receiving different transplants (from different people of course). I don’t think the soul is something completely tangible, it is you as a whole since these transplant patients received various organs and each received information that related to the original owner of that organ…like the case of a girl who received dreams of the murder victim whose heart was transplanted into her body. Or another transplant receiver picked up valuable skills she didn’t know before her transplant.

Feelings come in my opinion also arrive from a combination of your brain, and your soul. I don’t think your physical heart can think, therefore I don’t think it can learn anything like how to feel. This all stems from various places in your brain. Did you know according to psychology.about.com the human brain has something 86 billion Neurons in it? It’s relatively close to primates but we have far more brain cells that require a tremendous amount of energy to fuel and maintain. The complexity of this, of us is that connection that each of these neurons make. Somewhere in that jumbled mess is our soul, ourselves. If it weren’t we’d be just exactly like each other. We’d be robots basically. I can’t begin to understand the full complexity of this, but I do believe the answer to curing Schizophrenia results in figuring out the human brain. Because not every human has this disorder, so therefore there has to be a way to cure it and make those of us who do have it not. Right now though there is no solid cure for this mental illness, right now there is only treatment that helps us manage our “symptoms”.

I’m sorry if I am being too critical here, but I still firmly, strongly believe that Schizophrenia is an illness of the mind and symptoms include hallucinations, delusional thinking, concentration issues, voices…I have spent many years since my diagnosis researching Schizophrenia and this is just my understanding of this. I am not a doctor. I am not professional, just someone trying to make sense of my disorder and someone who has been trying to be “normal” to where if I can’t avoid the hallucinations or voices I can at least learn how to react to them or learn not to react to them so people don’t look at me funny for talking to myself or fear me for thinking something weird…

I get defense about people not saying Schizophrenia is an illness because it is. It is life-altering. It can be a huge problem for the patient. Like it prevents me from being able to work because I don’t have the concentration because I can’t completely stop/block the voices or hallucinations when they hit me. But I realize I am fortunate enough to not have symptoms of the disease 24 hours of the day 7 days a week. I do have some quiet time in my head where I’m completely lucid, and not hearing or seeing things that aren’t real. But then there are times when I have problems. I worry about loosing my SSI coverage because people think I’m not suffering from something, because they can’t see it with their own eyes or I’m not forcing myself to be locked away in some mental ward because I cannot control my actions.

I worry about losing medicare because of this, then where would I be? I couldn’t hold down a job long enough to get the health insurance I would need, and without SSI and Medicare I couldn’t afford my treatment plans which allow me to stay at home with my family. It is a big worry and this is why I prefer to think of Schizophrenia as an incurable disease because I need to, so I can keep getting the help I do have.


#25

The truth concerning what schizophrenia actually is, is currently of absolutely no interest at all to the world. Instead there is an ongoing never ending instantaneous rejection of such knowledge. Nothing can change this rejection. Nothing can stop it. Nothing can stop this infinite hopelessness.

If you can not answer the following questions, then you have not seen the truth.

  1. What is the cause of instantaneous Action at a Distance ?
  2. What is Delayed Quantum Erasure, and what makes it possible ?
  3. What is the Delayed Quantum Choice, and what makes it possible ?
  4. What is the cause of Particle/Wave duality and the collapse of the quantum wave ?

To see the truth, you must see the big picture, thus no stone is left upturned.


#26

So @AbAt are you saying the time I spent the mental ward (six months or longer I can’t remember it was a long time ago)…the time I was going around claiming to be someone I wasn’t, or the time I thought I could speak to the dead even though I can’t. The time I believed I was infected with insects, the hours I’ve suffered panic attacks due to irrational Schizophrenic thinking,

The time I’ve spent with my doctors, and psychiatrists, the time I spent at the out-patient hospital trying to integrate with society, The time I spent seeing things like bugs on my walls when there were none, the time I spend listening to the negative voices that I cannot control telling me I’m worthless, helpless, and should harm myself to the point of death. Not to mention the money I’ve spent on drugs and doctor points all lead up to me not having Schizophrenia simply because I can not tell you exactly where I feel the hallucinations happening?

We have two vary different opinions on what Schizophrenia is. I’m sorry. I’m not changing my view point, it is what I’ve come to understand of my personal illness. Whether or not you agree with me doesn’t matter to me at this point. I cannot tell you where the Schizophrenic connects with current brain…if I could I’d probably be able to figure out a cure for the disorder and I’m not that smart. I continue to believe it is an illness, it is not a normal healthy brain that becomes Schizophrenic.

Regardless of what causes you to first break from reality maybe different, we all react differently to the same situations…the point is if you sit me next to my mother she does not have Schizophrenia, she doesn’t see the hallucinations I see. My brother doesn’t have Schizophrenia, he doesn’t see the hallucinations I see. My best friend doesn’t have Schizophrenia, she doesn’t see what I see.

Therefore I am different from them, I have hallucinations. I have on occasion delusional thinking, I have voices in my head none of which I can control…I cannot simply turn off the hallucinations, delusions, or voices…they happen without my permission. My wish is to someday get to the point where I don’t have these anomalies where I can get rid of the voices, and hallucinations. However until they come up with a cure for Schizophrenia I will always suffer from these. At this point all I can do is be thankful I don’t have them 24/7, that I do have breaks from these events.


#27

There is two sides to reality, the inside and the outside.

If you are truly in touch with reality, then you are in touch with both sides.

However, 99% of the population are NOT truly in touch with reality, all due to them only being in touch with the inside.

If you are in touch with both sides, then that 99% of the population thinks that you are NOT in touch with reality, all this simply because you are not confined to the limited scope that they are imprisoned within. Thanks to their ignorance, they believe that nothing exists beyond that which they are currently aware of. Their ignorance and arrogance are at the peak level of all time.


#29

Deep breath in…it quivers down my throat as my lips tremble. As I release my leg starts nervously tapping. Tears form, threatening to stream down my face so I pinch the bridge of my nose and go for a second breath. I have had a very negative conversation about Schizophrenia and was accused of not actually having the disease…ha. Yeah, sure okay the past 15 years of my life have been a lie then?

I’ve fought internally with the voices telling me to hurt myself, slit my writs with the sharpest knife we have, find a tall building and jump…yeah okay I apparently don’t have schizophrenia so what are these voices I hear, the voice of God? The time I saw a man standing in the corner of my bedroom, could have sworn he was there choking something, then disappeared when I turned my light on and reached for my cell phone to take photo only to find him gone…but I’m not schizophrenic, so what was that?

I am not falsifying anything. But apparently I’m just making this up based on supposed books I’ve read…? What books have I read about this? I’ve done internet research to try and understand my disorder, because I wanted more than anything to be out of the mental institution and back at home with my family. But that was years ago. I haven’t read much since, except what I could find online like the national institute of mental health, Webmd, Mayo Clinic, CDC…

The National Institute of Mental Health claims Schizophrenia as a severe, and disabling disorder that has affected people throughout history, and a sufferer may believe other people are reading their minds, controlling their thoughts, or plotting to harm them. Causes can be of several factors: Genes and environment. It is known that Schizophrenia runs in families, and other recent studies claim Schizophrenia may result in part when a certain gene that is key to making important brain chemicals malfunctions.

I highly recommend reading this website: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/schizophrenia/index.shtml

I am Schizophrenic. I admit to having the disease, and that is a big accomplishment for me as it embarrasses me to know that have a disease that is thought of so negatively in society. It embarrasses me when I think back to my times of delusional thoughts and how I’d react to them, and people seeing me act that way. I can not change that those events happened in the past. I can work as hard as I can to prevent them from happening to me again in the future, but the fact that Schizophrenia is not cureable I run the risk of relapses. I have problems thinking straight, but not all the time.I have times of normal, lucid moments Then have times where the Schizophrenia takes hold and I just have to pass and hope not to many people see in me that state of mind.

Don’t tell me I’m misinterpreting things I’ve read and claim that I have the affects of Schizophrenia based on that. YOU DO NOT KNOW MY LIFE. Now I have to go sit somewhere quiet and fight this panic attack that’s building up inside of me because I’m afraid people think I’m making everything up. At the time of the hallucination I do not know it’s a hallucination, I only now that after the fact, after my mind has come back to reality.


#30

@sohare1981 Please try to not let one person’s opinion affect you so strongly. It is just that, an opinion.

@AbAt Please don’t question or imply that someone does not have schizophrenia just because what they are experiencing is different then your opinion of what schizophrenia is.

This forum operates on a system of trust and respect. Questioning other members right to be here or the authenticity of there symptoms or experiences is not supported. A member can politely disagree while offering their own experience without questioning the authenticity of the other member’s post.


#32

Since this forum is full of people who do not have specific speech, writing and expression issues. How have you come to the conclusion that those who can articulate well are not experiencing schizophrenia symptoms?

I’m sorry but your viewpoint can be very narrow minded and you do not have a responsibility to question another member in such a manner or to tell them what they can or cannot speak about.