Tag Archives: Psychiatry

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

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/

Schizophrenia and Poverty, Crime and Violence

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EXPLORINGtheLATERAL

Schizophrenia and Poverty, Crime and Violence
For people who have schizophrenia, and don’t get treatment, the result is far too often that they end up homeless or in jail (most often due to minor offenses).
  • Approximately 200,000 individuals with schizophrenia or manic-depressive (bipolar disorder) illness are homeless, constituting one-third of the approximately 600,000 homeless population (total homeless population statistic based on data from Department of Health and Human Services). These 200,000 individuals comprise more than the entire population of many U.S. cities, such as Hartford, Connecticut; Charleston, South Carolina; Reno, Nevada; Boise, Idaho; Scottsdale, Arizona; Orlando, Florida; Winston Salem, North Carolina; Ann Arbor, Michigan; Abilene, Texas or Topeka, Kansas.
  • At any given time, there are more people with untreated severe psychiatric illnesses living on America’s streets than are receiving care in hospitals. Approximately 90,000 individuals with schizophrenia or manic-depressive illness are in hospitals receiving treatment for their disease.
    Source: Treatment…

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Why Some People Actually Enjoy Having Schizophrenia

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Why Some People Actually Enjoy Having Schizophrenia

by Mhs411 of Mental Health Specialist 411

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.comcan 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:

  • Prenatal exposure to a viral infection
  • Low oxygen levels during birth (from prolonged labor or premature birth)
  • Exposure to a virus during infancy
  • Early parental loss or separation
  • Physical or sexual abuse in childhood

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.

Photo:  http://sciencenewstoyou.blogspot.co.il

The Aftermath of Trauma: Four Common Characteristics

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Definitely click on the link at the end of the post to read about the Four Common Characteristics.

What is Schizophrenia?

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What is Schizophrenia?.

“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?]

via What is Schizophrenia?.

Torture, Pain and Suffering can be Good

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Torture, Pain and Suffering can be Good

The following post was originally written and posted by Stephen Ames.

Torture, Pain and Suffering can be Good

I am no one special. I am not smart. I was diagnosed mentally retarded when I was 13. I have also been diagnosed with Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Bipolar Disorder and Attention Deficit Disorder. I have also been labeled a terrorist and a criminal. That sure is a lot of contradictions, but they aren’t mine.

I spent 3 years in Special Education coloring, drawing, and counting change until I dropped out of school. I just never could do schoolwork, I thought it was absurd. I don’t have any letters after my name, I haven’t attended and/or graduated from any prestigious schools, I haven’t even dropped out of any prestigious schools demonstrating my self-motivation and non-conformity. I don’t have a degree that automatically makes whatever I attach my name to an instant voice of veracity.

I was beaten almost daily as a child. Many were so severe that I couldn’t even stand, walk or get out of bed. I missed a lot days at school because of the beatings. My Grandmothers tried to help me. They even hid me a few times, but they were unable to stop it. I lived in terror every moment of my childhood.

When I was a child, I was also strapped down to a table with wires glued to my head. Everyone couldn’t figure out why I wouldn’t do school work so I was sent off to the Geisinger Medical Center in Danville Pennsylvania for  tests.  After that, I was placed in Special Ed.

When I was in my early 20s, I barely escaped a lobotomy. They said a lobotomy could cure me. This was from a well-meaning Psychiatrist in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania. He knew I was in severe mental pain, but he didn’t know what to do about it.

prison of painI’ve been surrounded by S.W.A.T 3 times. I’ve played cards with serial killers and mass murderers during my 3 stays at Mayview State Hospital a maximum security forensic hospital.  I’ve had to go months without bathing, brushing my teeth, or shaving while in the hole in Dauphin County Prison. My teeth rotted, just like the clothes I wore.  Living in and never leaving a 4×8, room for a few months brings on higher states of consciousness—so it was a good thing.  Also in prison, I was stripped naked, handcuffed behind my back and strapped in a chair for days at a time. It’s not much fun sitting in your own excrement and urine, but the pain and suffering make for a wonderful teacher. It gave me a deeper understanding of torture. The people who commit acts of torture are more afraid than those that they torture and they don’t know what they are doing.

I’ve been homeless, hungry and cold. This was also a good thing. It let me know what the homeless really face on a daily basis.

Knowing this may make you into an automatic skeptic, which is fine, but it does more for me. It makes me free to say and do whatever I want.  And what is it that I do and want? I want to share my experiences with others, ease their pain and suffering. Why?  Because I empathize with, have compassion for, love for everyone.  I have tried, oh, believe me, I have tried not to empathize, have compassion and love for others, but it is something I just can’t turn off. People may consider me an enemy, but I never can be. I just can’t hate.

Because I am not confined by letters after my name, a piece of paper certifying my pedigree, any school, business or institution that pays my bills to disappoint or offend, no will whatsoever to uphold my good name. I am neither obligated nor bound to carry out the will of someone else. I realize that pain and suffering are a gift, not a curse. What could be freer than that?

I’ve always been free, because I’ve never been broken. I can’t break, I can’t change, so there is no escape. It is not will or defiance. I can’t do things that I consider wrong or absurd, believe me I have tried.  I can’t give up my freedom, believe me I have tried. The very thought of stealing, lying, cheating, or being deceptive or doing something absurd causes my mind to schism, my heart to race and the sweat pours out of me, it drives me insane. I have always been like this and it has caused me to go through what many consider terrible situations.

I’ve never wanted to be or trade places with anyone else. I’ve been fortunate to see and experience things that most people only read about. I got to experience all of this not by hurting anyone, stealing, lying , etc., no, these events all happened because I couldn’t do what I was told to do. I couldn’t be a slave. Pain and suffering are a gift…probably the greatest gift one could receive.

Pain and suffering can teach one to have empathy, compassion and love for everyone, including those who have committed wrongs against you.  So, if you’re in pain and suffering, it may not seem like it at the moment but, you are surely blessed.

*Image Credits (all work used with permission through CC license)–
“Prison of Pain” by Franck Vervial
“Ice Eye” by Nicolo Paternoster

Medication or not?

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A topic that always have raised many questions, is wheter or not to take medication. From my work, I see different client groups, where some use medication, and some not. For me it`s important to let the clients decide for themselves, even if that means trying different options. What is your view on the subject? Here follows a trailer from Finnish therapist

You can get healthy without medication!

Publisert 3. august 2013by 

The movie will be shown under Amaliedagene in Oslo 

Quote: “You can get quite healthy out of it – without medication.” – Dr. Birgitta Alakare (Director, Psychiatrist, Therapist)

~ o ~

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Quote: “You can get quite healthy out of it – without medication.” – Dr. Birgitta Alakare (Director, Psychiatrist, Therapist)

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