Schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterized by abnormal social behavior and failure to understand reality. Common symptoms include false beliefs, unclear or confused thinking, hearing voices that others do not, reduced social engagement and emotional expression, and a lack of motivation.
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- All schizophrenia patients are mad, and none are sane. Their behaviour is incomprehensible. It tells us nothing about what they do in the rest of their lives, gives no insight into the human condition and has no lesson for sane people except how sane they are. There's nothing profound about it. Schizophrenics aren't clever or wise or witty — they may make some very odd remarks but that's because they're mad, and there's nothing to be got out of what they say. When they laugh at things the rest of us don't think are funny, like the death of a parent, they're not being penetrating, and on other occasions they're not wryly amused at at the simplicity and stupidity of the psychiatrist, however well justified that might be in many cases. They're laughing because they're mad, too mad to be able to tell what's funny any more. The rewards for being sane may not be very many but knowing what's funny is one of them. And that's an end of the matter.
- Kingsley Amis, Stanley and the Women, p. 147
- Our own definition of childhood schizophrenia has been a clinical entity, occuring in chioldhood before the age of eleven years, which "reveals pathology in behavior at every level and in every area of integration or patterning within the functioning of the central nervous system, be it vegetative, motor, perceptual, intellectual, emotional, or social. Further more, this behavior pathology disturbs the patterns of every functioning field in a characteristic way. The pathology cannot therefore be thought of as a focal in the architecture of the central nervous system, but rather as striking at the substratum of integrative functioning or biologically patterned behavior" (1) At present the only concept we have of this pathology is in terms of field forces in which temporal rather than spatial factors are emphasized. Within the concept of field force3s, one can accept some idea of a focal disorder, since no one integrated function is ever completely lost or inhibited, and since there are different degrees of severity of disturbance in the loife history of any child and between two different children. This also differs with the period of onset.
The diagnostic criteria for the 100 schizophrenic children which make up this study have been rigid. In each child it has been possible to demonsterate characteristic disturbances in every patterned functioning field of behavior. Every schizophrenic child reacts to the psychosis in a way determined by his own total personality including the infantile experiences andthe level of maturation of the personality. This reaction is usually a neurotic one determined by the anciety stirred up by the disturbing phenomena in the vaspvegetative, motility, perceptual, and psychological fields. Interferences in normal developmental patterns and regressive phenomena with resulting primitive reactions are related to both the essential psychosis and the reaction of the anxiety-ridden personality.
There are. of course, children in whom the diofferential diagnosis is very difficult. Those with some form of diffuse encephalopathy or diffuse developmental deviations in which the normally strong urges for normal development push the child into frustration and reactive anxiety may present many schizphrenic features in the motility disturbances, intellectual interferences, and psychological reactions.
- Lauretta Bender, “Clinical Study of One Hundred Schizophrenic Children", "Childhood Schizophrenia", (January 1947), p. 40.
- Rationale for Treatment with LSD and UML
Our interest in these drugs was due in part to their psychotomimetic effect, hoping thereby that the autistic defenses of schizophrenic children might be broken down. Of equal interest, on a theoretical basis, is the serotonin inhibiting effect and of greater interest is their effect on the autonomic and central nervous system. Brodie has described the effects of LSD and other hallucinogenic agents as "arousal and increased responsiveness to sensory stimuli, preponderance of sympathetic activity and increased skeletal muscle tone and activity." Of particular interest is their tonic effect on the vascular bed especially of the brain, as has been shown with UML in vascular headaches. The known effects of these drugs on perception further increases¬ their interest in the treatment of schizophrenia.
Such drugs were of interest to us for the treatment of childhood schizophrenia since our definition of this condition is a disorder in maturation characterized by an embryonic primitive plasticity in all areas of integrative brain functioning from which behavior subsequently arises. This includes all autonomic functions, perception, emotion, intelligence. It was hoped that 'these drugs might prove some-what specific in modifying the basic process as well as the secondary symptoms. Autism is seen as a withdrawal or denial defense against disturbing sensations arising from disturbed autonomic function and perceptual function and anxiety in the young child with lagging and atypical maturation. It was hoped that this autism might be disrupted and that more normal autonomic functions in the vascular bed, brain, intestines, skin and other organs as well as in perception would permit more normal development.
- Lauretta Bender, L. Cobrinik, G. Faretra, D.V. Siva Sankar, "The Treatment of Childhood Schizophrenia with LSD and UML", Biological Treatment of Mental Illness, Proceedings II of the International Conference of the Manfred Sakel Foundation 10/31-11/3/1962, 1966; 2(4):463-91.
- There is no such "condition" as "schizophrenia," but the label is a social fact and the social fact a political event.
- R. D. Laing, The Politics of Experience (1967), p. 121
- The schizophrenic has had their window kicked in, the magician has got a body of law – probably most of it bollocks, it doesn’t matter. The magician’s got a system into which the alien information that will be pouring into him or her will be fitted. They’ve got a filing cabinet, like the Qabalah, which is a filing cabinet for ideas. It divides the whole universe up into ten drawers. Any experience can be passed into one of the drawers. The schizophrenic is probably having exactly the same experience as the magician but has no context in which to understand it. … The schizophrenics I have known, the most evident thing about it is the interconnectedness of everything. That’s standard lunacy, it’s also standard magic. But with one of them, it is uncontrollable, you are lost in a world in which everything is obviously connected by symbolic threads. That is what the magician is seeking, to see these threads that connect things up. If you’ve got a system – even if it’s a completely made-up bogus system – then you’ve at least got a filing cabinet to sort this stuff into, you don’t have to get crushed under it.
- Alan Moore, De Abaitua interview (1998)
- Psychiatrists look for twisted molecules and defective genes as the causes of schizophrenia, because schizophrenia is the name of a disease. If Christianity or Communism were called diseases, would they then look for the chemical and genetic “causes” of these “conditions”?
- Thomas Szasz, The Second Sin (New York: 1973), p. 102
- Patients with schizophrenia demonstrate abnormalities in early visual encoding of facial features that precedes the ERP response typically associated with facial affect recognition. This suggests that affect recognition deficits, at least for happy and sad discrimination, are secondary to faulty structural encoding of faces. The association of abnormal face encoding with delusions may denote the physiological basis for clinical misidentification syndromes.
- Impaired emotional functioning is a core feature of schizophrenia described by Eugen Bleuler (1911)nearly 100 years ago. Emotional abnormalities in schizophrenia are now receiving more attention by clinicians and investigators and include a variety of symptoms such as flat or constricted affect, inappropriate affect, and depression (Kohler et al., 2000a). In addition to negative symptoms' influence on the experience and expression of emotions, there is evidence that schizophrenia patients are impaired in recognizing and discriminating facial emotions (Morrison et al., 1988; Mandal et al., 1998; Edwards et al., 2001; Kohler et al., 2003). It is unclear whether emotion recognition deficits represent a specific or generalized form of cognitive impairment in schizophrenia (Kerr and Neale, 1993; Whittaker et al., 2001), yet recent studies show that emotion processing deficits are uniquely related to clinical symptoms (Kohler et al., 2000b; Silver et al., 2002; Sachs et al., 2004).
- Bruce I. Turetsky, Christian G. Kohler, Tim Indersmitten, Mahendra T. Bhati, Dorothy Charbonnier, and Ruben C. Gur, “Facial Emotion Recognition in Schizophrenia: When and Why Does It Go Awry?”, Schizophr Res. 2007 Aug; 94(1-3): 253–263.