Mental Illness

This lecture comes with a stern warning because, by some estimation, in today's political climate there is a 50/50 chance that you are a paranoid schizophrenic. Clearly, it is the most common type of schizophrenia and all you have to do to identify the sufferer is to note the degree of withdrawal from reality.

So far so good? Are we on the same page?

That's the general picture but we are skating on thin ice because that is not what it means to be out of touch with reality in the schizophrenic sense.

I am not the expert. I defer to the intellect and the insight of Stanford University Professor, Robert Sapolsky, one of the brightest thinkers in the world and he said as follows;

"What is schizophrenia? It's a disease of thinking abnormally. This is a disease of thinking differently from everybody else. This is a way of thinking in a way that everyone else thinks isn't right, and suddenly we are skating on thin ice of this transitioning from a world of neuropsychiatric disorders and medicine into a world of all sorts of agendas of abuse. And psychiatry has been hand in hand in bed with all sorts of ideologues over the decades, over the years, and willing to hand out diagnoses of schizophrenia to political dissidents, to people you want to get rid of. And this is a totally, totally loaded diagnosis, when, most fundamentally, this is a disease of everybody else thinks you're not thinking normally. Because, some of the time, that describes a florid psychiatric disease that destroys your life. And some of the time, it describes people who are just a pain in the ass. And some of the time, it describes people who are going to transform the world by thinking differently.

How can you possibly approach this disease in an objective manner without being influenced by ideology?"

One way to develop a greater understanding about what schizophrenia is, or more significantly, what it is not, is to develop a common grounding in the historical, evolving views regarding this complicated, mental illness.

Unlike the prevailing views of the 1950's, schizophrenia is not caused by childhood experiences, poor parenting or lack of willpower. The cognitive functioning of the schizophrenic is impaired, not because of individual difference or questionable, child rearing practices but because of a brain abnormality that is heavily anchored in the frontal cortex.

Structural abnormalities in the brain cause schizophrenia. Relative to individuals without schizophrenia, schizophrenia patients have enlarged ventricles and that means that there is less functional brain tissue. In particular, enlarged ventricles cause the cortex to compress, especially in the frontal cortex, which explains cognitive impairment.

Moreover, the brains of schizophrenics have fewer hippocampal neurons and some of them are facing the wrong way. Sequential thought is impaired if you have neurons pointing in the wrong direction.

Fewer neurons in the frontal cortex are also an indication of a lower level of cortex maturation. Clearly, the factors which can lead to a brain that is not normal are complex, numerous and varied. Those who simply theorized or claimed that abnormal parenting caused schizophrenia were frankly cruel and wrong. The chief culprit of that line of reasoning was that children who received conflicting messages were impacted by a sufficient degree of psychological stress that caused schizophrenia and that is simply not true.

Perhaps glaring misrepresentations that ignored biochemical disorders simply emphasize the fact that mental illness is as common as cancer; we all have it in one form or another, but we ignore it because we value credibility and therefore refuse to see our own "insanity". In our minds, we are normal and anybody who disagrees with us is not -facts be damned. We call that confirmation bias, but it is in fact, "confirmation insanity".

If you are not factually credible you are not sane. The #1 symptom of paranoid schizophrenia is delusions. And when you have a difficult time distinguishing what is real from what you see and experience as reality in your mind, you become fearful, scared and paranoid whether someone is out to harm you or not.

Like the diagnosis of cancer, the underlying mechanisms of schizophrenia are complex. For example, a neurotransmitter like dopamine is involved in the advancement and reinforcement of the abnormal thought patterns in schizophrenia. Likewise, psychosis is attributed to the faulty distribution, regulation, and function of dopaminergic neurons.

Do not be a junk bond psychiatrists, psychologist or a lawyer who uses his or her profession in effort to discredit anybody he or she does not agree with, That is malpractice. It is our obligation to understand and to explain using credible facts, not to "misdiagnose" for the purpose of fulfilling an agenda.

Mental illness or schizophrenia is not a disease that is subject to misdiagnosis. It is a disease that is precise enough to identify faulty thought processes and lead to greater comprehension, and that is clearly the one and only road to recovery where mental illness is concerned.

Next: The real story is frequently a conspiracy theory.



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