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Objective Schizophrenia 101

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posted on May, 20 2006 @ 09:23 PM
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Schizophrenia - widely misunderstood, inaccurately overgeneralized.

I actually suffer from this disorder, and have over 10 years of medical documentation on my particular case.

I was shocked and appalled at how "casually" some of the doctors documented their observations - very brief "observations" of my mental state with little to no emphasis on specific delusions or complaints.

All in all, if one were to look at me purely from a case history, one would think I was a completely incoherent and unintelligent member of the populace with little to no insight on the true nature of reality.

This is not always the case.

In an effort to help deconstruct the "myth of the schizophrenic" I have opened this forum for discussion.

Any topic is welcome as long as it pertains to the Schizophrenic Mind - whether it be public reaction towards the schizophrenic, general symptoms, delusional thought or hallucinations.

I am hoping to generate more comprehensive and objective insight into the nature of this disorder, and help educate people on what it's like living with schizophrenia.

Your questions/comments are most welcome.




posted on May, 20 2006 @ 10:03 PM
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I used to work in a psychiatric ward as a security guard, and many of the patients there had schizophrenia. There is a VERY wide range of degrees of schizophrenia, ranging from people who are almost normal to people who cannot function at all in society, and everything in between, depending on severity. I also read in a pamphlet they had there that approximately 1% of the entire population has schizophrenia, and that 1 in 5 people will be diagnosed with some mental illness at some point in their lives (not necessarily schizophrenia, but could be). Oh, and one common misconception, schizophrenia is not the same as multiple personality disorder; the latter is actually extremely rare.

Hope that helped some readers, and feel free to correct if I goofed anywhere, though I'm fairly sure I didn't.



posted on May, 20 2006 @ 10:16 PM
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Agreed. Well put.

When I have been hospitalised for "episodic breaks from reality" (I become non-communicative and catatonic) I've met several people who have varying stages and progressions of the disease.

Most lack insight into the nature of their condition and some are so caught up in their internal worlds that it's nearly impossible to communicate with them unless you have an incredible amount of patience.

Kudos for your work in the social services. I've had some of the best conversations with health care workers - the doctors are usually too pressed for time.



posted on May, 20 2006 @ 10:23 PM
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Amen brother i know exactly how you feel all though i cant be as articualte as you i have been dealing with this for 7 years now and have seen a lot of doc not one has ever really talked with me any length of time about it its almost like they don't know nothing.



posted on May, 20 2006 @ 10:25 PM
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No worries - I know exactly how you feel!

If there is any element of your personal experience you would like to discuss with an objective and sympathetic ear - I'm here!

Perhaps we can help each other come to a better understanding of how to beat this thing!

*edited for spelling

[edit on 20-5-2006 by Pyrotechnocracy23]



posted on May, 20 2006 @ 10:46 PM
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My former brother-in-law is schizophrenic. His parents are dead, and the rest of his family (including my ex-wife) have pretty much abandoned him to his fate. His past experience with the available medical and social services here has been extremely negative; as far as he is concerned, that road is closed. He has received medication from time to time but is no longer willing to take it.

I still maintain sporadic contact with him and occasionally he visits my house. Recently he had an "episode" there. His hands "became locked together" and he flew into a panic. After some time we worked out a solution, which was to pour water over them to "unlock" them. Sounds a bit silly in retrospect, but the whole thing was quite alarming while it lasted; his distress was quite infectious.

What I would like to know is,

1/ Whether there is any recommended procedure, general rules or even hints for dealing with situations like this, in the absence of accessible medical help;

2/ From Pyrotechnocracy23 or any other articulate sufferer, what they feel would be helpful, both in "emergencies" of the kind I've described and, more generally, in dealing with people who suffer from schizophrenia.

By the way, I think a thread like this is a great idea, even though I don't really see the "conspiracy" side. Thanks, Pyrotechnocracy23.



posted on May, 20 2006 @ 10:47 PM
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First of all, thank you for this thread! What a wonderful thing for you to do to step forward and allow others to ask questions.

I have long had so many questions about this disorder. So tell me when I've asked too many and I'll go away!

Do you have hallucinations and if so what type have you had (audial, visual, sensory?)



posted on May, 20 2006 @ 10:50 PM
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Pyro....I am a studying Psychologist...and currently work in a Group Home for the Mentally Disabled.... I have a few questions for you.

First, what is your DSM diagnosis?
Second, what medications if any are you on?
Thirdly, what state do you live in?

My grandmother is a paranoid schizophrenic....and my roomate specializes in treatment plans for schizophrenics, I saw this not to brag but to let you know that Im not just somone spouting thier mouth off and on the same token I am not a Licensed Doctor.

Side note...there is no such thing as MPD(multiple personality disorder) it was reclassified in the DSM-III to DID. Discociative identity disorder...someone doesnt have multiple personailities...they have one personality that has splintered/fractured into numerous SUB-personalities...this is a common misconception and is important to realize that its NOT MPD.

Back to schizophrenia.

Pyro without intruding do you mind explaining some of your delusions in depth.

Also Doctors(non psychological and even some psychological doctors) are commonly callous towards the mentally disabled because they are stuck in the paradigm that taking a pill will cure anything. This is a problem that I deal with nearly everytime i take one of my clients to the doctors office.

Also...how old are you? If you dont feel comfy answering this question I totally understand...but as a person who is inextricably drawn to mental illness i trully cannot pass up an oppurtunity such as this to study a schizophrenic person in "the wild" excuse the analogy but soo often schizophrenics end up with the Thorazine shuffle because many mental health proffesionals have trouble dealing with them...personally I would work with a schizophrenic any day of the week over say a Borderline Personality or Bipolar patient.....much more interesting....

So yeah...thank you for coming on to ATS to help inform this population. Unfortuently there are frequently members who misdiagnosis or just tac on diagnosis that they know lil or nothing about...so having a person who actually is afflicted by this disorder on to speak about exactly what happens is fantastic.

BTW...Im not sure of his name but when I get home from work tonight I will check for it...anyways he is a schizophrenic Doctoral Proffesor at a Nationally KNown University...and has been schizophrenic for quite some time.



posted on May, 20 2006 @ 11:17 PM
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Thanks for posting, Astyanax!

In response to your questions :

1.) The best thing to do is remain calm and detached from the situation. Don't panic - people suffering from episodes are unusually sensitive to people in direct proximity. How you respond can either heighten the schizophrenics paranoia of feelings of detachment. The best thing to do is act as if it's a normal experience everyone goes through so as not to further isolate the person from the reality of his/her experience.

The worst mistake people make is to invalidate the experience of the schizophrenic by insisting it's "all in their head" and "not real".

It's a real experience for them.

2.) When I have my episodes, it's very a very real experience. The best way to describe it is to compare it to a young child with an imaginary scenario they are working through. Be gentle and patient, but not condescending to the situation at hand. Listen to the problems or situation the person is describing, and talk about possible reasons or outcomes that would best satisfy the conflict.

(I think the patience you exhibited in the "pouring of water on the hands" to be exceptional - most schizophrenics respond highly to symbolic rituals of this sort - it not only validates their experience and concerns as being genuine, but also gives a solution that is within the frame of reference of what they are experiencing.)

In other words - it never hurts to "play along" with the schizophrenic, but be careful not to cater too much to dangerous beliefs and paranoias. To do so would only give the schizophrenia more internal validation to their percieved delusions.

Talking someone down might be time consuming and difficult, but in the long run it is more beneficial than simply denying the event. A schizophrenic needs to actively "work through" what is plauging them. Granted, certian situations may take more time than others - but in the long run, it's more effective.

Validate the person, not the paranoia.

In cases where the person is very actively distressed and cannot be talked to or reasoned with (and is posing a direct threat to him/herself or others), the best course of action is to (sad as I am to admit this) contact energency services. Try to be discreet about your phone call though - that way the schizophrenic won't make the immediate connection of you being "against them". You can always explain what happened once their symptoms are better under control.

*

As far as a conspiracy is concerned - it's better to state that misconceptions about the nature of the disorder and how people treat schizophrenics creates a more hostile environment for persons who suffer from this disorder. In a round about way - the conspiracy lies in misunderstanding and the cycle of ignorance regarding the schizophrenic and the illness.



Thanks for posting and I hope your brother in law comes to terms with some of his symptoms!

If you'd like me to provide additional insight on specific delusions he has - maybe we can work together to help him "re-think" the world in a more positive light!



posted on May, 20 2006 @ 11:28 PM
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* VALHALL - in response to your question : (thanks for the interest!)

The majority of what I go through are thought delusions, the hallucinations are somewhat secondary, but they both go hand in hand.

AUDITORY : POSTIVE COMMENTS

These are usually short sentences like - "good job" or "nice work"...sometimes they manifest as parts of the psyche that run like internal dialogue. They rarely cause any problems, and since they are positive in nature - they are regarded as beneficial. I don't really condier these to be part of the disorder, since they are not chaotic in nature.

AUDITORY : NEGATIVE COMMENTS/INSULTS

The best way to describe this is to imagine yourself back in grade school in a taunting scenario - with you as the victim of the bullying - but you can't walk away from the situation or escape it.

VISUAL HALLUCINATIONS : PARANOIA and CONSPIRACY

During early episodes I would not only "feel" like I was being watched - I would actually make eye contact with people who were watching me. Sometimes I would "pick up on a thought broadcast/insult" and immediately turn around to confront the "sender" of such negative vibes - and find myself staring into the eyes of another person.

I have long suspected this to be some form of telepathy (though I am at a loss to explain the subtle nuances as to why I was being attacked at the time...or whether or not my impressions were indeed valid.)

DELUSIONS:

For the longest time there was a feeling of being "initiated" into an occultic world - since my condition began to assert itself, I have done somewhat extensive research into various aspects of the occultic worlds and paranormal sciences. I have found some close parallels to experieneces and scenarios, but I have found the best course of action is to ignore the negative and not let it pull you too deeply into itself. The "void", (or the unconcious), should not be pulled into the waking world without a degree of caution.

Most of my delusions have been centered around the prospect of a "New World Order" - I have literally walked in the Orwellian Soiety - seen cameras and met the proverbial "Thought Police". The funny thing is, the majority of them are actually very human and not as "sinsiter" as the book would have one believe. People are, after all - only human.

Minor delusions span theories of the multiverse and the inability to stay focus and grounded in a single, secular reality. This is where the majority of my hospitalizations come from. Trying to hold onto a definitive reality during these times is nearly impossible and I end up checking myself in for treatment when they happen.

I hope this helps.



posted on May, 20 2006 @ 11:42 PM
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ELSENORPOMPOM :

I'd be happy to respond!

The last "official" DSM diagnosis I recieved was in Seattle, Washington at Harborview Medical Center - one of the finest and most comprehensive failities I have experienced thus far : Schizoaffective Bi-Polar, Borderline Personality Disorder.

This has been downgraded from my intial diagnosis back in 1994 where I was labeled Catatonic Schizophrenic...

I believe these are the technical terms, as I have never been granted access to my records despite several requests - (I'm on an extremely limited income and cannot afford to buy copies of my records) so I hope these are the correct terms.

I am currently 31 years of age - my condition began when I was 19.

I currently am on Abilify - which has worked wonders in stopping auditory hallucinations and delusional episodes.

I currently live in the state of Arkansas (which has some frightening health care workers considering the mental landscape of the area) but am fortunate enough to have been in contact and association with some of the finest health care workers available. I feel extremely fortunate in this respect.

I don't know if the previous post provided enough information regarding my delusions or not, but I would be more than happy to go into further detail about specifics if you would like.

Always happy to be of service to furthering insight on the subject!

(I will post various delusions and episodes in the future when they seem relevant...much of the time they happen in such a disorganized state that it's difficult to recount them without a heavy degree of reflection.)

Good luck on your studies and thanks for your interest!

*edited for typo

[edit on 20-5-2006 by Pyrotechnocracy23]



posted on May, 21 2006 @ 07:29 AM
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Thank you so much for your candor.

When you stated you picked up on a "thought insult" and then turned to be staring a person in the eyes, was this a real person or a visual hallucination. And I would follow your answer up with - how do you know?

See that's the part of schizophrenia that intrigues me and I mean it intrigues me in a positively fascinating way. It's almost like the person is living an alternate reality of sorts. And it blows my mind how a person could ever self-diagnose the situation since their very reality is the symptom.

You stated that your delusions surrounding multiverse's or multirealities have caused you to have yourself hospitalized. This statement just blows my mind. Would you mind going into detail about these specific delusions and then also explain how you are able to realize it is a delusion.

And lastly, along the same lines of confusion I have about this disorder, were you first diagnosed because of other people in your life thinking something was wrong, or were you able to realize something was wrong? Would love to read about the particulars that led to your diagnosis.



posted on May, 21 2006 @ 08:12 AM
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The person was actually there.

Generally the hallucinations I experience are more "transparent" than solid matter or in the form of shadows that I catch moving out of the corner of my eye, or words interposed on other words. All of these things can be layovers from a chemical imbalance.

I've seen some pretty strange things in mirrors as well.

Visuals aren't as common as auditory hallucinations - and those are the worst. With visuals, you can close your eyes and they go away, but the voices are in your head and there's no way to drown them out. It's like mentally fighting with a computer that keeps repeating the same thing over and over and never gets tired.

With respect to the delusions of multiple realities -

The only way I can think to describe this is to pretend you're an actor. You've studied several different characters and how they would best react to a given situation. A conflict, for example:

Your acting coach, as a training excercise, describes a given circumstance and then starts calling out the name of the characters to be portrayed.

It starts out slowly - then increases to the point that you barely have time to "act out" your lines before the character is switched.

To the outside observer, you look like a madman with facial expressions, posture, demeanor and voice changing in rapid succession and it's impossible to distinguish what character is being played out anymore..

I've always thought of it as a "coping behavior". Stimulus/response. What was triggering this behavior seems a little more in-depth and involved than just a chemical imablance...this sort of thing is normally thought of as learned behavior.)

The first time this happened, I was on the third day of an episode (mood swings, and voices that were organized and running me through various fictional scenarios). I found myself at one point running through various "psuedopersonas" at lightning speed.

When it subsided, (I thought it was over) I walked out to the convience store to grab a soda, but as soon as I stepped through the doors of the establishment, something triggered me again and I forgot why I had gone down there in the first place.

I stepped outside and found myself "playing the role" of some sort of sentry - one of the strongest themes to my episodes - and there I found myself, standing on the corner and watching the people drive by - oblivious to the fact that I had to have looked like a complete idiot. Still - this was the clearest state of mind I had been in the entire evening, so I thought nothing of it. I was "on duty" and doing my best to make sure everything was kosher in the outside world.

Well, the night clerk noticed my odd behavior and called the police. They came down to check up on me (I was on my way home at the time) and when they approached me, I found myself struck dumb. I couldn't speak - I could only offer my identification.

They must have sensed something odd, because the next thing I know, there's an ambulance pulling up and they gently escorted me to the hospital.

I don't remember speaking to anyone there - I was aware of my surroundings, I just couldn't speak to anyone. Everyone was patient with me while I waited in the emergency room. One of the first things they did was turn on the television and the first thing I thought was "Oh, #. I hope they don't think I'm THAT type!"

I waited patiently for several more minutes before I blacked out and woke up to find myself walking out of the hospital, as if on autopilot, in the direction of the full moon overhead. I remember there being a little red light under the moon, blinking - and all I could think of was "the Truman Show" for some reason.

I returned to the hospital and sat down moments before I was rushed, given a sedative and blacked out. I woke up a few hours later in Rivendell Psychiatric where I was back to normal within a matter of hours and released within a week.

Nothing since then.



posted on May, 21 2006 @ 08:28 AM
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So the confusing part for me is what you are describing as an almost Pavlovian response to some internal trigger that you respond to with one of these pseudopersonae. Are you cognitive that you are acting outside of reality? Are you aware that the trigger (and I'm still unclear what that is, is it an audial hallucination of voice telling you you are "this character" or you are in "this scenario"???) is not real at the time but you cannot prevent yourself from reacting? or does the trigger wipe away reality and replace it with the actual scenario?

*Tell me when I start bugging you with all my questions.*



posted on May, 21 2006 @ 08:59 AM
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No need to worry - I'm actually flabbergasted someone is taking this thread seriously! In fact, I'm honored!

In response :

When an episode begins, it feels completely natural and normal. As it increases, the dissacociative state begins to take a stronger hold ...slowly, so the transistion seems like a normal state of mind.

I've been told by others that due to my natural creativity (I'm a hobbyist cartoonist and writer) and the fact that I've always been attracted to certain subjects (brianwahsing and conspiracies) that I may unconsiously "walk into" these types of scenarios unwittingly out of a subconcious escapist desire.

I can see the validity to this idea. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me.

As far as triggers - in the advanced stages of an episode, I don't hear anything - no voices, no prompts, or other auditory clues or commands. I simply "react" to unknown stimulus.

Whether it is of an internal or external nature I cannot say, but it always seems to be accompanied by the feeling of "being on the worlds largest soundstage where all the people are just actors in the the Great Play".

Strange metaphor, I know - but it's the closest I can come to describing it.

This might be the reason I allow myself to fall so deeply into these states. The prospect of such unlimited possibilities seems too good an opportunity for exploration than just sitting around on my bum.

Even subject matter that would make most people uncomfortable I get a kick out of...I actually found myself standing in my kitchen window for several days a few months ago "talking via telepathy" to an unknown "agency" (I was under the impression it was the CIA for some reason) and joking around with them and going through a very light level interrogation at one point (I can't recall the details of those conversations very well though...I have terrible recall on some points.)

In response to whether or not the trigger "wipes away reality" I can't say for sure...

The scenery looks the same, the observable world is identical to the one I normally inhabit...but when I walk outside there are more stars in the sky, greater amounts of air traffic (look at all the pretty spaceships, a childlike part of me says) and the colors are intensely vivid and defined.

It literally feels like a "dimensional shift" - like the veils have been lifted and I am completely at one with everything. It's a wonderful feeling until other people get in the way - then the illusion becomes disjointed, I get confused and become unsure of myself.

That's usually when people start making judgements regarding my "behavior".

I've never understood that. I'm just taking things in. Experiencing life through new eyes. I'm not violent or obtrusive, I mind my own business.

As I like to say to myself sometimes, in jest - Nice Planet. Strange populace.


Did this help answer your questions?



posted on May, 21 2006 @ 09:08 AM
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Yes! But then it makes me have about 50 more. LOL!

See, I'm curious as to the possibility of whether schizophrenia COULD have some type of extra-sensory perception to it. As to whether you truly are tapping into a parallel reality that the rest of us numb-skulls can't see. That's my curiosity. For instance, "there's just more stars". Well, maybe there are.

Catching an insultive thought and turning around to see some one actually standing there...well, maybe they did think it!

I understand the unhealthiness and the "disorder" side of this, so I don't want some one else (I don't think you will, but another reader might) to misunderstand that I'm trying to say this is not a disorder or a mental illness, but what I am saying is that the mechanism that causes this disorder may ALSO cause an ability that the rest of us don't have.



posted on May, 21 2006 @ 09:49 AM
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Wow. You and I are on the same track then!

I've always speculated there might be "something more" than the "scientific explanation".

I agree with the possibilties you just mentioned as alternative explanations - mainly because I feel the "dismissal" of the medical profession of the significance of some major universial themes between ALL schizophrenics :

We ALL have feeling of being "watched, obeserved or being spied upon".

We ALL share persecutory scenarios involving Federal Agencies, UFO's and other "unscientific phenomena".

We ALL hear voices no one else does (or admits to).

Scientific method and rational logic would see that this is a common denominator between all cases - there has to be some sort of connection. Psychology is an imperfect and "soft" science to begin with and there is a danger of facing complete discreditation if one "admits" to a possible correlation with the paranormal.

And don't worry about the number of questions -

If you're really interested, I'd be happy to post until you feel satisfied.

Thank you for being open to the subject!!!!

I recently moved to a new area, and am still looking for a psychologist I can open up to - this is a small town in a realitively rural community, and a lot of the concepts I might touch on in the future are outside the realm of experience for the psychologists I've met so far - the health care in this town isn't very well funded.

Like I said before - I'm excited to have a forum where I can not only discuss this issue clinically, but also in relation to other phenomena without hostile judgement.

Seriously - I've shared more with you than I have any other medical practitioner - mainly because they are so overwhelmed with clients a perscription is the quickest way to get me out of the office....(I really feel for them, they work so hard.)



posted on May, 21 2006 @ 09:54 AM
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Okay, to pursue this possibility we would have to engage in a new line of questioning:

Have you ever obtained knowledge from one of your delusional states - either by way of an audial hallucination or maybe just a sudden new awareness as part of the pseudopersona you take on - that later you found to be true?



posted on May, 21 2006 @ 11:25 AM
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In a nutshell, yes.

I'm the first to admit I am still looking for the proper frames of reference in which to discuss the overview of the entire experience.

It's difficult when so much of the experience gets blanked out so quickly after having it happen. The medications they use to "stabilize" my condition usually cuts the experience short before it has a chance to fully resolve itself in my conscious mind. Lost time, so to speak.


Because of this, the story comes through in bits and pieces.

I hope I wasn't too vague on this answer...

*edited for content/spelling

[edit on 21-5-2006 by Pyrotechnocracy23]



posted on May, 21 2006 @ 12:30 PM
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Nope, you weren't. Don't you find it curious that the drugs that help your condition get under control also seem to remove the remembrance (or maybe cut short the actual event) of a possible psychic event? Because the same has been postulated as to why NDE's tend to not be remembered in a person who has been administered certain drugs (particularly general anesthesias) versus people who are in a situation (say where no medical assistance is involved) and do not have these drugs administered.






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