Tag Archives: Mental disorder

Russell on thinking and societal changes…

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The great majority of men and women, in ordinary times, pass through life without ever contemplating or criticising, as a whole, either their own conditions or those of the world at large.  They find themselves born into a certain place in society, and they accept what each day brings forth, without any effort of thought beyond what the immediate present requires…they seek the satisfaction of the needs of the moment, without much forethought, and without considering that by sufficient effort the whole condition of their lives could be changed…It is only a few rare and exceptional men who have that kind of love toward mankind at large that makes them unable to endure patiently the general mass of evil and suffering, regardless of any relation it may have to their own lives. These few, driven by sympathetic pain, will seek, first in thought and then in action, for some way of escape, some new system of society by which life may become richer, more full of joy and less full of preventable evils than it is at present (p. viii).  

Bertrand Russell

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Anxiety and Stress

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An article I wrote today for a local newspaper…

Stress and Anxiety – Why do I feel this way all the time?

             I feel so nervous at work and at home every day. I can’t seem to get it under control.  My boss might ask me to do something that I don’t know how to do, or my kids may get into trouble at school. These feelings are always there and I don’t know why…

            Many of us feel stress and anxiety during the day – yet we cope with it in different ways, and while we don’t always understand why we feel it, it is usually manageable.  However, an alarming number of Americans experience anxiety, frequently due to stress. Nearly 40 million people, or about 18% of Americans each year experience nervousness, uncertainty, fears, and restlessness. For these people, the feelings are not a normal reaction to stress, but instead may feel like panic, and it affects their daily life at work, at school, and at home.

            Feelings of anxiety may be felt most in the social situation, or plague us when we have to participate in a classroom experience or answer the teacher’s question. Often, it is not clear why we have the feelings – the anxiety may come up in a meeting, all of a sudden, with little warning. Anxiety, and the stress that we experience, is perhaps the most common of mental difficulties that people experience – and there are several different kinds or types of anxiety disorders.  In addition, anxiety can also be part of, or exist alongside, other disorders – such as depression, physical illness (headaches, stomach problems), sleeping difficulties – and may also trigger behaviors like substance or alcohol abuse. 

            Symptoms include:

  • Constant worrying
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Nausea, sweating, rapid heartbeat
  • Concentration or focusing problems
  • Feeling easily startled or fearful
  • Avoiding social situations

Both adults and children may also exhibit other symptoms, such as striving for approval, needing constant reassurance about performance, lacking confidence, and needing to be perfectionistic.  

The stress that we feel in our work, at our home, or in the school situation can interfere with our daily activities to the point that we feel unable to function normally.  It is at this time that one needs to seek out some help,  and get some assistance in understanding why we are experiencing the difficulty, and how to find different or better ways of coping. 

Anxiety disorders are classified into 5 different types or areas, each of which has different symptoms, coping mechanisms, and treatment recommendations.  You may experience frequent panic attacks (Panic Disorder), or fear dirt and germs, and needing to wash their hands incessantly (Obsessive-compulsive Disorder). Alternatively, you may not want to go outside of your home or go to the school function because you’re frightened of the social situation (Social Anxiety or Phobia). Individuals with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder have experienced trauma – often repeatedly, and need a safe environment to recall the events and reduce their fears.  (As I pointed out in a previous article, PTSD is common in soldiers, women and children that have experienced domestic violence, rape or sexual assault victims). 

The causes of anxiety disorders are complex, and there is no research that shows just one factor being involved. Rather, the causes may be environmental (domestic violence or reactions to disaster), genetic in nature, or due to psychological and developmental factors.  Most individuals that experience post-traumatic stress disorder have experienced some trauma in their life, and interestingly, genetics may play a role in whether someone then develops PTSD, or some other disorder as a way of coping with the trauma. 

Treatments are many, and are varied – depending on how the anxiety, or the reaction to stress is experienced. Different types of treatment are called for depending on the specifics of your difficulties.  Medications may be helpful, and may be recommended by your physician or mental health provider. However, an important point is that medication alone will not solve the difficulty – and psychotherapy, or a ‘talking therapy’ will be necessary.  Certain types of therapy are currently being researched (cognitive behavioral) for some of the anxiety disorders.  Many of the psychotherapies will include learning about relaxation approaches, such as breathing exercises or making changes in your lifestyle.  The therapeutic relationship with your mental health provider is of utmost importance, as this relationship will be the key to helping you cope differently with the stress and the anxiety.  

 Please email me with questions or comments.

  Rudy Oldeschulte, M.A., J.D. is a Del Rio psychotherapist, specializing in individual psychotherapy and parent guidance.  He has served on the faculty of the University of Arizona College of Medicine and taught at the British Association of Psychotherapists. Post- graduate training and education was done in London and at the University of Michigan.

Email address is: roldeschulte@gmail.com and his website is: http://www.rudyoldeschulte.com

A mad world A diagnosis of mental illness is more common than ever – did psychiatrists create the problem, or just recognise it?

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Unfortunate Events

When a psychiatrist meets people at a party and reveals what he or she does for a living, two responses are typical. People either say, ‘I’d better be careful what I say around you,’ and then clam up, or they say, ‘I could talk to you for hours,’ and then launch into a litany of complaints and diagnostic questions, usually about one or another family member, in-law, co-worker, or other acquaintance. It seems that people are quick to acknowledge the ubiquity of those who might benefit from a psychiatrist’s attention, while expressing a deep reluctance ever to seek it out themselves…

…While a continuous view of mental illness probably reflects underlying reality, it inevitably results in grey areas where ‘caseness’ (whether someone does or does not have a mental disorder) must be decided based on judgment calls made by experienced clinicians. In psychiatry, those calls usually depend on whether a patient’s complaints are associated with significant distress or impaired functioning. Unlike medical disorders where morbidity is often determined by physical limitations or the threat of impending death, the distress and disruption of social functioning associated with mental illness can be fairly subjective. Even those on the softer, less severe end of the mental illness spectrum can experience considerable suffering and impairment. For example, someone with mild depression might not be on the verge of suicide, but could really be struggling with work due to anxiety and poor concentration. Many people might experience sub-clinical conditions that fall short of the threshold for a mental disorder, but still might benefit from intervention.

See link for interesting article on psychiatry…and bits about the importance of psychotherapeutic intervention…

http://aeon.co/magazine/being-human/have-psychiatrists-lost-perspective-on-mental-illness/

The Cost of Your Disorder

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In a 2011 survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of almost 100,000 parents, it was determined that 1 out of every 10 children in the United States has been diagnosed with ADHD, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. That is 11% of the population, or a whopping 6.5 million American children.

The symptomology of the condition include a lack of focus and attention as well as difficulty controlling impassivity. The disorder which is most commonly treated by a combination of therapy and medication and most prevalent in children aged 4 through 17. Much of the time, the disorder is first recognized in a school setting around the age of six when children are first expected to sit still for structured periods of time in which their focus is required.

The Centers for Disease Control reports the diagnosis of ADHD to be on a continuous rise since the late 1990s. This is the first time the rate of increase for diagnosing the disorder has dropped.
How does a disorder that the average parent never even hear of when Americans thought television shows like “Leave it to Beaver” and “Dennis the Menace” were first introduced and seen as funny, become so widespread and prevalent?

Experts agree it is due to two major factors:
* More parents know about it
* More physicians are looking for it

Let’s cut to the chase. This knowledge that parents and physicians have gained with the prevalence of the disorder converts to somewhere in the range of $12,005 and $17,458 per individual depending on variables such as mental health costs, juvenile justice costs and missed days of work; in 2005 dollars.

The report concludes (with preliminary estimates due to incomplete literature) of a societal cost of illness (COI) to average $42.5 billion annually, or a range of $36 billion and $52.4 billion.

Fortunately, I have not been diagnosed with ADHD, however, I am a licensed social worker with a heart a mile wide and just as deep. But I can’t wrap my brain around numbers like that toward just one mental health disorder that we see absolutely no signs of ‘curing.’

Not when we have so many disorders and so little health care to go around.

The Language Of Schizophrenia

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Professor Robert Sapolsky finishes his lecture on language and then dives into his discussion about schizophrenia. He discusses environmental factors as well as genetic characteristics that could apply to people who are affected. He describes schizophrenia as a disease of thought disorder and inappropriate emotional attributes. [quoted from the description box beneath the video]

A Schizophrenic Way Of Saying Things

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A Schizophrenic Way Of Saying Things

 

 

 

 

 

I’d like to go home

but I have to go to the bathroom

and they won’t let me see the stars

cognitive-symptoms-of-schizophrenia-03

I’ll give you a doughnut

because I haven’t got anymore

toilet paper

I want to go to Disneyhome

but Mickey’s dead

God looks at me from the sky

I can see the eyes of

Atlantis

diaptych(right) :: mess-up N/N mess-age

Shut up! she said

I told her somebody stole

my bananas

the walls are missing

where did my feet go

I can smell your armpits, Mister

The hallway’s flooded with blood

because somebody farted

now the toilet smells like

home

Thousand Plateaus Drawing

When I comb my hair pieces

of wood fall out

My brother eats maggots with

his bare feet

My feet went home

Can I go too

I hear dogs calling my name

They don’t know the TV’s on

Oprah’s interviewing Justin Bieber’s

image

diaptych(left) :: mess-up 1/1 mess-age

My mom’s in the audience

with her pet home on a leash

Jim Morrison is singing in my

ear

But I can’t hear the water

running     What?

Was that the doorbell

Someone let the table out

I want to go home

but the silverware left without me

Is it my fault the bed’s on fire

oh, it is

catatonia-schizophrenia-symptoms-01

I don’t sleep in a cloud full

of roses

Want to go outside and play

in the weeds

the roaches won’t care

They’re too busy picking curtains

at the supermarket

Go away but I lost 10 pounds

of home

Help me.

*Image Credits (all work used with permission through CC lisence)–
“cognitive-symptoms-of-schizophrenia-03″ by Life Mental Health
“catatonic-schizophrenia-symptoms-01″ by Life Mental Health
“Thousand Plateaus Drawing” by Magda Wojtyra
“diaptych(left) :: mess-up 1/1 mess-age” by Joel, Evelyn, Francois
“diaptych(right) :: mess-up N/N mess-age” by Joel, Evelyn, Francois

Erroneous Depictions of Schizophrenia in the Media

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Very good post that breaks down the errors from the media attributed to those living with schizophrenia.

Under the (Bipolar) Covers

Every psychiatry site and mental illness blog has acknowledged the colossal stigma surrounding mental illness. However, it’s difficult to pinpoint the cause of this stigma. Obviously, news media reporting on violent crimes, and insinuating that mentally ill people frequently become violent, contributes. Entertainment media is another source of misinformation, especially pertaining to schizophrenia.

Until Silver Linings Playbook, the people I know in my generation tended to consider A Beautiful Mind and The Soloist as their chief interpretations of mental illness. They had not been sufficiently educated about mental illnesses. Our health classes did not cover the subject, nor did biology class. Because of this, most of my friends think of all schizophrenic people as homicidal maniacs or uncontrollable homeless people, both of which are incorrect (though low socioeconomic standing is somewhat commonplace in schizophrenia). I am including information from a fascinating survey on the subject:

“Objective: Critics of entertainment media…

View original post 648 more words

Psychotic Episode (I Have No Ego)

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Psychotic Episode (I Have No Ego)

I have no ego. . . my psychotic episode.

The schizophrenic experiences a stunning barrage of continuous, horrifying symptoms: auditory hallucinations, delusions, ideas of reference, paranoia, etc. The “indescribable severe torture” is unrelenting and can go on except during sometimes restless sleep, at whichtime the symptoms are even active when one becomes conscious at all. This experience is so overwhelming it is beyond the imagination. It cannot be conceived of intellectually. By its very nature it in fact necessitates the concept of religion in order to relate to it at all. This continuous experience of psychotic symptoms can be viewed as “spiritual exercises in perfection”. The effect on the schizophrenic is similar to that of monks when practicing their rituals in monasteries. When these spirited exercises become a lifestyle for the schizophrenic (lasting 8-10 years) with no real evidence given to the schizophrenic that he will ever recover, a fascinating thing happens to the psyche of that schizophrenic—he loses the perspective of “ego”. Ego consists of all his identifying factors in the world: his age, sex, race, religious affiliation or lack thereof, education level, social class, political affiliations, nationality, etc. He begins to see his environment with the eyes of a newborn, without the bias or prejudices, preconditions of his particular circumstances. It can be seen as a sort of continuous baptism by fire, a kind of purification, enabling him to see reality for what it is in actuality, rather than being viewed through the preconceptions of his individual mental, emotional, and behavioural repertoire instilled in him from birth. The schizophrenic in this condition is able in his interior to walk around in someone else’s moccasins with perfection. This can be seen as loving your neighbour as you love yourself, perfectly. I do not believe it is a condition that can be acquired by a “normal” individual by any method, because the horror of the symptoms of schizophrenia are unduplicable by man. (Religious persons would call this condition repentance for all one’s sins, e.g. “perfect repentance”.) ~Source

Recommended readings on the absence of ego in the SchizoAffective (schizophrenic) mind:

*Image Credit (used with permission through CC license):
“walking on the razor’s edge in the underground train world : manhattan (2007)” by torbakhopper

 

 

 

 

 

A Look At The Abscence of Ego In The SchizoAffective Mind

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A Look At The Abscence of Ego In The SchizoAffective Mind

There is a point at which one becomes aware of deeper truths present in what one perceives as reality, and although scientific-management and the other social experiments exacted upon the world by those who seek to create come kind of rational human being, a superman from the nascent gene pool of human nature, attempted to insert in SchizoAffectives (although at birth it could not have been known that these particular individuals—true individuals and not the rugged individuals of whom Watts speaks—would resist this insertion by becoming SchizoAffective [or Autistic or even Schizophrenic]) this rational thinking process, the mechanism of the system, the SchizoAffective resisted, with his very life.

childhood-schizophrenia-symptomsWhen a human being is born, he has no inherent thinking process; he has only sensation and awareness of those sensations. He lives only in the Now, he has no extrinsic concept of time, he has no ability of mind to predict behavior. At infancy, the human being is at his most mindful: all mind and no thought. All awareness and the glimmers of consciousness from his first intake of oxygen (and perhaps before). Through systematized familial relationships (whether that familial relationship be biological or institutional or on the street is irrelevant, for the etymological origins of the term family stem from the word “familiar”. Family is that which one is most familiar. That which one encounters and engages every day) a process of thought begins to supplant or replace that natural mindfulness and awareness. In Western Culture, rather than raise the levels of consciousness begins to break them down, to disintegrate them. Not necessarily out of meanness or malice or even evil, but out of efficiency and necessity.

*aLiCe iN WoNdErLaNd-SynDroMe*To disintegrate the consciousness and narrow the awareness makes for easier rearing of a child in an already systematized culture and society. Thus begins the Social Game. Without knowing the effects of such play, the familial institutions begin to prepare the infant for a childhood of systemized living: schooling, social interactions (rather than friendships), social communication (the forming of consciousness and awareness and sensations into rational, logical, linear thought, and thought into rational, linear, logical language). A schizophrenic meanders in speech, seemingly illogical, lacking linear capacity, therefore difficult to follow or comprehend. One thing does not naturally lead to another. It takes a path untrodden through the wooded fabric of his still intact mindfulness, awareness, and consciousness. Like grasping Alice’s hand and wandering thought Wonderland for a spell, visiting bits and pieces of nonsense. Like looking at the first layer of a highly iterated fractal. The SchizoAffective mind works (not processes) like layers of fractal chaos. It tessellates. Only making any kind of sense when the full pattern of the fractal can be seen from a higher level of magnification. As such, systematized society and its rules are traumatic to the schizoid mind.

Samsara + NirvanaThe schizoid mind is not fragmented by years of systematic abuse (that is AB-use, used badly or wrongfully) despite his speech appearing so to systematized society. His depth of emotion remains wide along the spectrum, not divided into sad/happiness, anger/contentment, crying/laughter. It retains its seemingly inexplicable nonduality and laterality: Cry-laughing-anger-smiling-sorrow-contentment-pensivity-stillness, etc. In effect, a chaos of emotion and mental associations that is like a quantum code. Every iterant absorbs the previous and results in a new iteration, which then absorbs, and so forth. Iterations can be understood to mean manners of speech, sentence structure, sensation, awareness, of environment, empathy of others’ emotions, words and meanings of others in their environment, and so on. Although, not an algorithm naturally, the mind of a SchizoAffective (and schizophrenic) behaves like one, more like IBM’s Watson, or higher level AI. The schizoid mind learns in this manner as well. Thus, he is a difficult addition to the social consciousness. He does not fit. He becomes the discordant (and contrariwise, society appears discordant to the schizoid mind; the affect to the schizo of SchizoAffective). Quite plainly, the social game can and does drive the schizoid mind into madness; hence his defense mechanism of dissociation, or isolation, or hallucination, or paranoia, or delusions.

Schizophrenia bisThe schizoid mind experiences intrinsically the external world like a person on LSD. His experience is psychedelic always, his awareness is synesthetic, his empathy almost like telepathy. What then of the socially constructed ego? Why is the schizo without one? Even if he were born with an ego, he would discard it out of preservation for his consciousness. The ego does not fit into the schizoid mind’s psychedelic experience and perception of the world about him. He MUST rid his mind of the ego; else, he shall not survive the continual and constant onslaught of the social order. In other words, the riddance and absence of the ego is a self-defense mechanism in the schizo.

 

Daydreamer*Image Credits (all work used with permission through CC license)–
“*aLiCe iN WoNdErLaNd-SynDroMe*” by caroline barberis
“treatment-of-schizophrenia-01” by Life Mental Health
“childhood-schizophrenia-symptoms” by Life Mental Health
“Schizophrenia bis” by Gwendal Uguen
“Daydreamer” by H.Kopp Delaney
“Samsara + Nirvana” by H.Kopp Delaney