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    Thread: Schizophrenia and Psychosis Brain Disease or Existential Crisis?

    1. #61
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      some guy at uni said "he broke down at the end of the 1st yr and the jurys still out as to whether he's ill or is making an existential statement"

    2. #62
      Apotheosis
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      Thanks Tatty gave thanks for this post

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      Quote Originally Posted by Apotheosis View Post
      Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaomgimdyinghahaha

    4. #64
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      Quote Originally Posted by Apotheosis View Post
      Given what oneday posts about I would think that he is relating to the thread - that dysfunctional family dynamics/upbringing, & difficult life circumstances is a major factor in mental health experiences.
      Going back a bit, I’ve been thinking about what you wrote there, Apo. Yes, and you’re right – If I'm asked to nail my colours to the mast, I do believe that dysfunctional family dynamics or upbringing, and difficult life circumstances in general, are a major factor (in fact the major factor) in what get called mental health problems, including, coming back to the original post, what gets called “schizophrenia” or “psychosis”.

      I suppose my proviso would go something like this: that it’s not only what happens to us, but also what we do with what happens to us. Also I believe that what gets called “mental health” (and “mental health problems”) are concerned with how we make sense and meaning out of our lives and experiences. (Of course this all then begs the question of where and how we learn how to respond to what happens to us and the kind of sense and meaning we make of our existence.)

      The “brain disease” concept has come to dominate the popular imagination, though, despite the questionability of the evidence in its favour. This part of Dr Paris Williams’ piece (cited in the original post) is the most relevant here:

      What? Schizophrenia may not be caused by a brain disease?

      The emerging recovery research and continuous lack of substantiation of any of the various brain disease hypotheses have cast serious doubts about the validity of the brain disease theory (as discussed in more detail in my book Rethinking Madness (Home - Rethinking Madness) and my previous posts (Full Recovery from Schizophrenia? - Full Recovery from Schizophrenia? | Brain Blogger and Is Schizophrenia Really a Brain Disease? - http://brainblogger.com/2012/06/23/i...brain-disease/

      1) regarding the anomalous brain structures or brain chemistry that is sometimes found in people diagnosed with schizophrenia, these are only found in a small minority of cases, and even in these cases, there is no significant evidence that these are caused by anything other than unusual life circumstances (e.g., trauma, nutritional deficiencies, and substance abuse) or by the use of psychiatric drugs themselves);

      2) the research is clear that, in stark contrast to well established diseases of the brain (such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, and multiple sclerosis), many people diagnosed with schizophrenia/psychosis make full and lasting medication-free recoveries; and

      3) that many of those who experience full recoveries do not just return to their pre-psychotic condition, but experience profound healing and positive growth beyond the condition that existed prior to their psychosis, again in stark contrast to well established diseases of the brain."

      And later he says this:

      “What I believe is the most relevant implication of the emerging recovery research… with regard to the cause of psychosis can be put like this: The individual we deem “schizophrenic” or “psychotic” is… caught in a profound wrestling match with the very same core existential dilemmas with which we all must struggle. In other words, it appears likely that schizophrenia/ psychosis is not caused by a disease of the brain but is rather the manifestation of a mind deeply entangled within the fundamental dilemmas of existence.”

      By the way, I’d also recommend folks who are interested to read Prof. Mary Boyle’s piece It's all done with smoke and mirrors. Or, how to create the illusion of a schizophrenic brain disease (which can be found at: It's all done with smoke and mirrors)
      Last edited by oneday; 18-08-12 at 07:42.

    5. #65
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      Quote Originally Posted by oneday View Post
      Going back a bit, I’ve been thinking about what you wrote there, Apo. Yes, and you’re right – If I'm asked to nail my colours to the mast, I do believe that dysfunctional family dynamics or upbringing, and difficult life circumstances in general, are a major factor (in fact the major factor) in what get called mental health problems, including, coming back to the original post, what gets called “schizophrenia” or “psychosis”.

      I suppose my proviso would go something like this: that it’s not only what happens to us, but also what we do with what happens to us. Also I believe that what gets called “mental health” (and “mental health problems”) are concerned with how we make sense and meaning out of our lives and experiences. (Of course this all then begs the question of where and how we learn how to respond to what happens to us and the kind of sense and meaning we make of our existence.)

      The “brain disease” concept has come to dominate the popular imagination, though, despite the questionability of the evidence in its favour. This part of Dr Paris Williams’ piece (cited in the original post) is the most relevant here:
      2) the research is clear that, in stark contrast to well established diseases of the brain (such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, and multiple sclerosis), many people diagnosed with schizophrenia/psychosis make full and lasting medication-free recoveries; and

      3) that many of those who experience full recoveries do not just return to their pre-psychotic condition, but experience profound healing and positive growth beyond the condition that existed prior to their psychosis, again in stark contrast to well established diseases of the brain."
      It's not clear though is it? I've read, researched, explored & contemplated a lot of these areas. I'm beginning to think that there are problems with both understandings - 'brain disease & existential healing crisis'.

      Firstly - to say that 'many people diagnosed with schizophrenia/psychosis make full and lasting medication-free recoveries' I think is just not true. Some do yes - but what is many? I do think that distinctions need to be made with what is getting labelled as psychosis/schizophrenia - because I just don't think that it's all the same - far from it. There is great range & spectrum here. Especially in America, the diagnostic criteria are far more loose for psychosis/schizophrenia.

      Lets also take the current situation, the current social realities & the realities of the current MH system. As things stand, your going to get treated with labels & drugs, especially if your at a more severe end of the spectrum & especially if you have repeating severe episodes or breakdowns. I tend to now think that some people are going to be best helped with medications.

      Largely those in the recovery camp are talking about having had only one major episode of psychosis/breakdown, & then recovering. It is Not the same as multiple & prolonged episodes of psychosis, & repeated hospitalisations. Even if there was 'alternative' approaches in place, I question how many at a more severe end of the spectrum could recover fully medication free? We cannot of course know as that is not the way things are. The 'alternatives' also do not show 100% recovery/healing rates.

      There is 'Brief Psychotic Disorder' & a myriad of reasons as to why someone may have one episode or brief psychosis & then recover. I don't think that it is the same as genuine schizophrenia. & I feel that a case can be well argued that very different things are going on in genuine schizophrenia - & that it's Not the fault of upbringing, family dynamics, & circumstances in general. Of course people should get more help. There should be better approaches, better environments for people, & better care. But that fact is that there isn't. If you don't recover (for whatever the reasons) then your largely on your own.

      I do feel that there is this expectation, & a lot of guilt, blame & shame placed on those that cannot recover by some of these recovery models/ideals. There is no one size fits all, either a biomedical approach or an alternative/recovery one.

      If I'd largely recovered after my first episode & gone on to a full life - then I'd likely fully agree with all this, but I didn't & haven't. & that's not through any fault of my own. Could I have been better helped - probably, but maybe not? I know that I have done my best. I'm not well, I need medication to function, & if I stop it I end up incredibly ill. & I've considered all the arguments & angles to it all. I don't think it is all 'simple' or clear cut. I'm not sure if it is all what you say - 'dysfunctional family dynamics or upbringing, and difficult life circumstances in general' & there isn't enough research to categorically state that it all is. Plenty of people have hard lives, upbringings & family dynamics & don't become psychotic.

      I read something very interesting about Laing the other day. After writing 'Sanity, Madness and the Family', he went on to do some research with healthy families (i.e. no psychosis in it's members) as a control group. What he found was that the dynamics were even more dysfunctional, the communication even more unhealthy/hostile, & he found the results incredibly depressing (wonder why he didn't publish?). The fact is that books such as 'Sanity, Madness and the Family', 'One flew over the cuckoos nest' by Ken Kesey, 'Asylums' by Goffman (& others), have all been hugely influential; but in truth, just how accurate have they been? A lot of the research simply doesn't stand up to scrutiny.

      Some people do appear to be helped by therapy - but also many don't. Jung himself concluded that some are not helped by psychotherapy.

      I think that those with genuine mental illness/severe mental health conditions have been utterly failed by the professional establishment - utterly failed by psychiatry, psychology, all of it. & the failures of 'care in the community' rests squarely on the shoulders of psychiatrists, psychologists/therapists, psychiatric social workers, lawyers, & Government officials, who are directly responsible for these failures.

      I think that on balance it can be just as well argued that genuine schizophrenia is primarily a physiological condition (it can be due primarily to physiological factors & not be a brain disease), if not better argued - than it being an existential crisis. But the fact remains that 'it' is a medical mystery.

      I would think that the truth is that what gets labelled as psychosis/schizophrenia is in cases both - that there is great range & spectrum - that some can be better helped & others not so. Primarily I'm mainly interested in the people that don't fully recover, who are ill for life & as to how they can be best helped. I'm getting more & more annoyed with the 'anyone can recover if they put the effort in' brigade. I didn't choose to be hospitalised 4 times, have 7 major breakdowns, & all the rest of what has gone on - & it isn't my fault. Despite all that I've tried - & it is a lot; I'm still unwell. I'm starting to think that there is a lot of bullshit with all of it - whatever angles people are coming from.

      [Just my current opinion; & I don't care if it contradicts anything else I've said]

      It's easy for someone that recovers (for whatever the actual/real reasons) to say it was all because of X,Y & Z - But it's not that 'simple'. I know how easily I could have said it was because of this or that if I more fully recovered. No - there is something wrong with all the perspectives in all this.
      Last edited by Apotheosis; 18-08-12 at 10:16.

    6. #66
      Senior Member rasselas.redux's Avatar
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      This is currenty airing on Radio 4

      One in three of us will be affected by mental illness at some time during our lifetime. It can take various forms from the most common - depression, to psychotic illness. Kendall's guests explore the way mental illness is viewed and treated around the world, and what can be done to help.

      The Indian psychiatrist Vikram Patel is at the forefront of a campaign to promote global mental health. His non-governmental organization in Goa pioneers ways to treat mental health problems in places with few resources, a theme he has also written about in his book "Where There's No Psychiatrist".

      Matthew Johnstone is an artist and writer based in Sydney. He first experienced depression in his mid-20s and he describes how he tried to cover it up so he could continue his successful advertising career. In his bestselling illustrated book "I Had a Black Dog", Johnstone used the character of a black Labrador to communicate his experience. He now works part-time as the Creative Director of the Black Dog Institute in Australia.

      Gwen Adshead is a forensic psychiatrist and psychotherapist at Broadmoor, Britain's highest security institution for offenders with mental disorders, well known in Britain because it's where the country's most notorious killers are sent if the court declares them "criminally insane'. She believes that learning to tell your own story is the key to getting to grips with all sorts of mental illness, even for her patients.
      You might find it interesting. Note that it's now gone from a 1 in 4 claim to a 1 in 3. No explanation given.

      BBC - BBC Radio 4 Programmes - The Forum, Mental Health
      http://rasselaspod.wordpress.com

    7. #67
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      Quote Originally Posted by rasselas.redux View Post
      This is currenty airing on Radio 4
      Sounds like a programme mainly on depression?
      Last edited by Apotheosis; 18-08-12 at 13:47.

    8. #68
      Senior Member rasselas.redux's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Apotheosis View Post
      Sounds like a programme mainly on depression?
      As per description, one person that suffered from despression discussed their experiences and the value of creating a personal narrative. The other two guests discussed narrative-making in low resource and high security forensic settings. Overall theme being the value of developing and being assisted to develop a personal narrative.

      Food for thought.
      http://rasselaspod.wordpress.com

    9. #69
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      May help if there was someone to listen to it? i.e. validation, understanding, care, & support etc. Back with the same thing; & I agree with the Rambo - the realities of it all is that we're not living in an ideal World. Great if you get it all - fucked if you don't, you just get blamed.

    10. #70
      Senior Member rasselas.redux's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Apotheosis View Post
      May help if there was someone to listen to it?
      Well, every narrative has to struggle for an audience.

      You're jumping the gun. This is about creating a personal narrative. If you want an audience for your life story you have a number of options available to you:

      (1) self-broadcast on youtube
      (2) write your autobiography
      (3) dramatise your life on the stage
      (4) take a stand in Speakers Corner
      (5) use illustration or some other art form to depict your life

      or (6) do nothing.

      Keeping in mind that (6) is always the safest option (you get to avoid critique and rejection). And (1) to (5), for the greatest will in the world, cannot guarantee an audience, if that is what you feel is most important.

      The real value I believe is in the doing.
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