Psychological and philosophical point of view, brought to you in plain language…
Psychological and philosophical point of view, brought to you in plain language…
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…
“Researchers publishing some groundbreaking findings today in the journal Science have concluded that poverty imposes such a massive cognitive load on the poor that they have little bandwidth left over to do many of the things that might lift them out of poverty – like go to night school, or search for a new job, or even remember to pay bills on time.” See link below
From the article (link below):
“It seems that the key to creative cognition is opening up the flood gates and letting in as much information as possible. Because you never know: sometimes the most bizarre associations can turn into the most productively creative ideas.”
Excellent article on creativity and the link (if there is one) with mental illness…(Keeping our minds open to all the different ways of understanding these traits or characteristics…)
More than a century ago, scientists discovered something usual about how people with schizophrenia move their eyes. The men, psychologist and inventor Raymond Dodge and psychiatrist Allen Diefendorf, were trying out one of Dodge’s inventions: an early incarnation of the modern eye tracker. When they used it on psychiatric patients, they found that most of their subjects with schizophrenia had a funny way of following a moving object with their eyes.
When a healthy person watches a smoothly moving object (say, an airplane crossing the sky), she tracks the plane with a smooth, continuous eye movement to match its displacement. This action is called smooth pursuit. But smooth pursuit isn’t smooth for most patients with schizophrenia. Their eyes often fall behind and they make a series of quick, tiny jerks to catch up or even dart ahead of their target. For the better part of a century, this…
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Between 70% and 90% of people who are looking for employment and who have been diagnosed with a mental illness do not find work! Let me rephrase this. The unemployment rate of people with diagnosed mental illness is close to insurmountable.
What is it about mental illness that frightens us so? Why would a boss hire someone with a physical disease (as long as they knew it was not contagious) but fear employing a person with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia?
Let’s imagine a piece of a conversation during an employment interview in which a qualified applicant for a customer service representative position is very straightforward and tells the human resource person they self-inject insulin due to having Type 1 diabetes. I think we can all correctly assume this would in no way negatively impact being considered for the job.
But what if that same applicant informed the human resource person that they were diagnosed schizophrenic and were on medication because they hear voices? So what is it about mental illness that we find so awful?
I have always believed that people fear more of what they cannot see than what they can see. The unknown is more frightening than the known is to most people. And mental illness is something that doesn’t show up on an x-ray. Although we are making significant breakthroughs in learning more about the way the brain works, for most of us, it is still ‘uncharted territory” and as such, much more likely to be feared.
But there is more to it than that. There also is a sense of pessimism involved or seeing the glass half empty. Since we don’t know much about the way the brain works, it stands to reason that we don’t know that much about the way it doesn’t work correctly either. This means we don’t understand the way disorders work. So why do people so frequently choose to think the worst? What reason do we have to believe if we hire the person with schizophrenia, that person will ‘go off’ rather than be extremely creative? What makes us focus on the negative aspects of mental illness rather than some of the other aspects of different brain functions?
It most certainly doesn’t help when a man goes on a killing rampage the way Aaron Alexis, the Washington DC Navy Yard killer, did last month and the news comes across about how he suffered from mental illness. Then that becomes the main focus of the news and people who are likely to hold negative views toward mental disorders feed off that. It is almost as if when something like this occurs, it can be used as proof by those who already stigmatize the mentally ill.
The popular mindset is that education is the only antidote to prejudice. I would like to say that I believe it works, but I know too many people who refuse to be confused by the facts because they already have their minds made up. For the time being, I am afraid mental illness stigmas are going to be around for a while and it will continue to be a seriously uphill battle for those effected by it.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Judy is a licensed clinical social worker and has worked extensively as a counselor with children, adolescents, couples and families. Judy’s professional experience in the mental health field along with her love of writing, provide insight into real-life experiences and relationships. Her fresh voice and down-to-earth approach to living a happier, more meaningful life are easy to understand and just as easy to start implementing right away for positive results!
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]
I’d like to go home
but I have to go to the bathroom
and they won’t let me see the stars
I’ll give you a doughnut
because I haven’t got anymore
I want to go to Disneyhome
but Mickey’s dead
God looks at me from the sky
I can see the eyes of
Shut up! she said
I told her somebody stole
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
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
My mom’s in the audience
with her pet home on a leash
Jim Morrison is singing in my
But I can’t hear the water
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
I don’t sleep in a cloud full
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
*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
Schizophrenia , literally meaning: a psychotic disorder characterized by loss of contact with the environment, by noticeable deterioration in the level of functioning in everyday life, and by disintegration of personality expressed as disorder of feeling, thought (as delusions), perception (as hallucinations), and behavior —called also dementia praecox – m-w.com, can be brought on by many factors.
Schizophrenia has a strong hereditary component. Individuals with a first-degree relative (parent or sibling) who has schizophrenia have a 10 percent chance of developing the disorder, as opposed to the 1 percent chance of the general population.
But schizophrenia is only influenced by genetics, not determined by it. While schizophrenia runs in families, about 60% of schizophrenic patients have no family members with the disorder. Furthermore, individuals who are genetically predisposed to schizophrenia don’t always develop the disease, which shows that biology is not destiny.
Twin and adoption studies suggest that inherited genes make a person vulnerable to schizophrenia and then environmental factors act on this vulnerability to trigger the disorder.
As for the environmental factors involved, more and more research is pointing to stress, either during pregnancy or at a later stage of development. High levels of stress are believed to trigger schizophrenia by increasing the body’s production of the hormone cortisol.
Research points to several stress-inducing environmental factors that may be involved in schizophrenia, including:
In many cases of Schizophrenia where voices are heard, the afflicted individual often finds comfort in the company of their voices, they have conversations, debates, and can often become friends on many levels. This is why affected patients often stop taking the medications which they are prescribed because they either severely subdue the voices or negate them altogether. Why would someone take a pill that forbids them from being in contact with their best friend(s), companion(s), etc?
Truth be told, the voices that most Schizophrenics hear do not tell them to hurt themselves, or others, but rather maintain a running commentary on “their” perception of the patients world at large, sometimes even discussing things on a blow-by-blow basis.
So why not enjoy being Schizophrenic? Constant companionship, never bored, never alone. Sounds like a great around the clock party! Right? Well sure, unless you have a type of Schizophrenia with voices that DO tell you to hurt either yourself, others, of both? Then, not such a party.
I remember one treatment center at which I was doing a segment of my practicum. I was assigned a woman mid 50′s who was diagnosed with Schizophrenia Paranoid Type. She was my first Schizophrenic patient, and aside from what the text books had taught me, I had no idea what to expect in a “real world” scenario.
The woman, whom we shall call Linda, was certain, beyond any doubt whatsoever that I was her son, and that we had performed in innumerable stage shows together, and began reminiscing about each show, one by one, covering our 30 year stage career together. Truly, it was fascinating, and even though she was of no harm to herself or to others, because she was so far removed from reality, she was court ordered to spend the rest of her life in a psychiatric facility. Still, she was quite happy and enjoyed spending time with her voices! Therefore, in summation, I suppose it depends on many factors as to whether an individual can enjoy having Schizophrenia, or see it as a never-ending nightmare pushing them towards anger, resentment, and potentially even revenge on a moment to moment basis.
“A good question, with no simple, short, or straightforward answer, since each sufferer is unique and schizophrenia is a complex phenomenon. In general, schizophrenia is an extremely introverted, psychospiritual mode of perception, or way of relating to the world; or state of consciousness involving (what I have called) ‘extreme empathy’. This simultaneous blessing and curse is due to a fragile, fragmented, dead, or lost ego, or conscious personality structure. . . “ [click the link to continue reading this post that offers an answer to the question, What Is Schizophrenia?]