Register to reply

Why is Schizophrenia considered a disease?

by NewTrino
Tags: considered, disease, schizophrenia
Share this thread:
NewTrino
#1
Mar4-12, 05:53 PM
P: 2
I was wondering, if Schizophrenia has to do with more than average neural connection-things (I'm no neuroscience major) wouldn't it be more of a blessing instead of a curse? Everyone looks down on it like the people will try to kill them for no reason. If they're something other than the paranoid subtype, the people aren't much different besides intelligence. Do people hate schizophrenics because they're more intelligent? Do they shun them and hate them because they have a gift that others do not? I was wondering, shouldn't Schizophrenia be considered a gift, like "intellectual gifts"? It seems like everyone is just a little bit jealous-for lack of a better term- of schizophrenics. Also, would they be considered a sub-species, or a 'race' of humans? They have a major difference, so instead of being considered "crazy" shouldn't schizophrenics be treated equally just like if someone was black, or Asian, as opposed to being thrown in an insane asylum?
Phys.Org News Partner Medical research news on Phys.org
Harmful drinkers would be affected 200 times more than low risk drinkers with an MUP
Depressive symptoms and pain may affect health outcomes in dialysis patients
Research looks to combat US Latina immigrant obesity
russ_watters
#2
Mar4-12, 08:58 PM
Mentor
P: 22,252
Welcome to PF!

What you describe doesn't sound like schizophrenia to me. Specifically:
If they're something other than the paranoid subtype, the people aren't much different besides intelligence.
That's not what the wiki on it says: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schizophrenia#Subtypes

All of the subtypes listed are psychologically harmful. Do you have any mainstream references to the existence of a subtype that manifests as relatively normal other than a higher than average intelligence?
Ryan_m_b
#3
Mar5-12, 02:02 AM
Mentor
Ryan_m_b's Avatar
P: 5,407
A disease is defined as an abnormal condition that has a deleterious affect on health manifesting with specific symptoms. Schizophrenics fit this bill because they have disordered thought/behaviour, hallucinations, delusions etc. I've never heard of schizophrenics having higher than average intelligence, some might but that isn't related to their schizophrenia.

Also we don't just throw schizophrenics in insane asylums as standard and especially not because they are different. There are a range of treatment options and for the worst cases then being in a monitored, controlled environment is necessary so that they do not harm themselves or others. This is different to a race issue as you are characterising it because we have evidence that being schizophrenic is dangerous for your health and possibly the health of others.

lark
#4
Mar9-12, 06:59 AM
P: 164
Why is Schizophrenia considered a disease?

There are lots of people around who are somewhat schizophrenic but not in hospitals and functioning in the world more or less. Like having delusions about the CIA having broken into your apartment; airplanes are watching you; hallucinations, scrambled thinking and talk.
Like someone I knew a bit who was always saying "interesting" obscure things. I would ask him what they meant, and he would just come out with another "interesting" obscure thing. I doubt he actually had a meaning associated with these things, they just sounded like they might have a meaning.
I went crazy as a teenager. Not after that, but I did have a mildly hallucinatory aspect to my vision, a lot of anxiety and depression. Eventually I found out that I was gluten intolerant and I had delayed food allergies to many foods, and without eating those foods, my vision and my emotional state got a lot more stable and normal.
You bet the evaluation of schizophrenia as a disease has a cultural aspect. In some cultures, people inclined to visions and voices were regarded as shamans.
I thought of myself as an artistic, creative person when I was had this mildly hallucinatory vision. So you can see how the way a culture regards such people, can vary.
Being rational, being able to approach problems in your life rationally, is VERY important, though. I've found it extremely helpful for me. Humans waste a lot of their time on delusions - conspiracy theories, etc. People can be very creative and very rational at the same time, and artists need rationality too.
MarcoD
#5
Mar9-12, 09:15 AM
P: 98
Well, as someone who has recurring psychosis, which is an euphemism for schizophrenic, I can tell you that it has little to do with rationality. (In my case it was either developing or a side effect of medication.) I am fully rational but schizo, it's just a burden. Moreover, most people with that condition end up pretty damned dumb, and most don't live very long. Which is how I expect to end. It is an absolutely horrible disease where you suffer until you die.
Evo
#6
Mar9-12, 10:17 AM
Mentor
Evo's Avatar
P: 26,487
Quote Quote by MarcoD View Post
Moreover, most people with that condition end up pretty damned dumb, and most don't live very long.
Please post the peer reviewed studies that back this up.
lark
#7
Mar9-12, 05:32 PM
P: 164
Quote Quote by MarcoD View Post
Well, as someone who has recurring psychosis, which is an euphemism for schizophrenic, I can tell you that it has little to do with rationality.
I wasn't claiming that it did, rather the opposite. I half-agree with the original point of view. Yes, I can see this view; but also, we live in a SEA of irrationality, and I prize real, honest, rational thought. Weird conspiracy theories, alien abductions, bizarre "medical" interventions are all around.
We need our somewhat-crazy artists and creative people. Van Gogh was quite crazy of course. I think it's likely he had celiac disease (gluten intolerance), there are many things that suggest it.
Yes, it must be miserable to flip out over and over again. It happened to me once, it was a time when my buried self and huge buried feelings surfaced, and my visions and hallucinations were full of meaning. Doing this once was crucial, but making a career out of being a mental patient would have been horrible. I separated from my abusive family and managed to live independently and support myself, with help from a therapist. I think if I'd stayed around the abusers I could easily have ended up warehoused in a state mental hospital.
The original person mentioned having a lot of neural connections as an aspect of schizophrenia. Gluten, dairy and perhaps a few other foods had very intense effects on me, that all could be interpreted as having an excess of connections. Probably it wouldn't be the neurons physically being connected a lot, but rather having a lot of some neurotransmitter that increases transmission between neurons. The effects I mean are things like irritability; my emotions being expressed in my vision in a mildly hallucinatory way; feeling like my internal reality was so intense it took up all my attention; sound-sensitivity; anxiety; my past memories of abuse were very "loud" and dominated my experience; I felt compelled to pay attention to graphic images I'd see; being "dreamy"; being very emotionally sensitive.
I'm also very sensitive in the sense of having a lot of inhalant allergies. For years I was positive to pretty much the entire skin panels of allergists. And, I probably have a couple of autoimmune diseases: celiac disease and I know I have Hashimoto's, an autoimmune thyroid disease.
Researchers have investigated somewhat the effects of gluten on schizophrenia, for example Novel Immune Response to Gluten in Individuals with Schizophrenia and immune system involvement in schizophrenia and autism. The immune system might be very important for some but not all people with schizophrenia.
One author I like a lot who's a successful crazy, is Whitley Strieber. His alien abduction stuff is very "psychological" and nutty; but he also seems to be very sensitive, and his sensitivity has driven him to write some very vivid books about nuclear war, child abduction and other traumatic things.
MarcoD
#8
Mar10-12, 05:22 AM
P: 98
Quote Quote by Evo View Post
Please post the peer reviewed studies that back this up.
From Wikipedia:

Schizophrenia has great human and economic costs.[2] It results in a decreased life expectancy of 1215 years, primarily because of its association with obesity, sedentary lifestyles, and smoking, with an increased rate of suicide playing a lesser role.[2]
For the rest, it is often diagnosed as early onset of dementia. Or rather, that was the historical reference. And I think it is known that psychoses leads to brain damage, but I lost the link.
zoobyshoe
#9
Mar10-12, 05:52 AM
zoobyshoe's Avatar
P: 5,625
Quote Quote by lark View Post
One author I like a lot who's a successful crazy, is Whitley Strieber. His alien abduction stuff is very "psychological" and nutty; but he also seems to be very sensitive, and his sensitivity has driven him to write some very vivid books about nuclear war, child abduction and other traumatic things.
Whitley Streiber has been diagnosed with Temporal Lobe Epilepsy, and has complex partial seizures. During a complex partial seizure a person is in something like a sleep walking type state, and can easily be mistaken for psychotic. That being the case, they are often first taken to psychiatrists, and psychiatrists have been, historically, very ignorant about seizures. This is changing over time, but there is still a certain percentage of people who are diagnosed as schizophrenic but who actually are Epileptic.

After a seizure a person can have an extended period of a hyper-emotional state, and their thinking can be on the "nutty" or "crazy" side. All kinds of trivial everyday things seem imbued with amazing significance, music is much more moving, and the stupidest of jokes can seem like a gem of the highest wit. Something like being very drunk without the loss of motor control. Strieber's "sensitivity" is probably this inter-ictal emotionality. I have heard him interviewed, and he goes on at length discussing things that sound pretty silly in grave, earnest tones.
zoobyshoe
#10
Mar10-12, 06:38 AM
zoobyshoe's Avatar
P: 5,625
Quote Quote by Evo View Post
Please post the peer reviewed studies that back this up.
This doesn't address life expectancy, but does address intelligence:
However, returning to the Swedish conscripts, in the lowest IQ bracket (<74) there were 1963 non-cases and 26 cases. Hence low IQ is a powerful risk factor for schizophrenia, although most patients begin with an 'average' IQ and some are indeed well above average. Very similar results have been obtained from two other populations-based cohorts from the UK. Of course schizophrenia itself then leads to an additional impairment in cognition which cannot be dismissed as an artifact of medication or chronicity. The answer to the other question (is schizophrenia( or the genes for schizophrenia) associated with exceptional intellectual abilities?) is a generally resounding 'no, on the contrary', although family studies currently in progress will answer this definitively.
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/1....tb10907.x/pdf

My own experience agrees with this and with Marco. People I've met with the diagnosis of schizophrenia are not very bright or creative at all. The ramblings of the average crazy homeless guy are representative of the ramblings of the well taken care of schizophrenic who has plenty to eat and a place to live.

There is a certain percentage of bipolar people who become very creative on the upswing of a manic episode, and it could well be, in some of these cases, that they would score considerably higher on an IQ test at these times than at other times, but bipolar disorder is a different condition than schizophrenia. They can be confused due to the fact both might suffer periods of psychosis with delusions. (It is important to be aware that all bipolar people don't have these creative periods. Their manic episodes just consist of getting themselves into trouble: overspending, gambling, speeding, promiscuity, and the like.)

The genius/madness meme may well have its roots in a problem that the modern world no longer faces: neurosyphilis. Apparently, in its tertiary stages, syphilis of the brain can lead to some remarkably creative-sounding use of language, and possibly, islands of brilliant thinking in a sea of cognitive chaos. Anthony Burgess did a stint in the Military earlier in his life as a night watchman over an army hospital ward of people suffering from what then was called General Paralysis of the Insane (tertiary neurosyphilis). As a linguist he was fascinated by the surreal and poetic sounding utterances of some of these patients. Nietsche, apparently, spouted some his of most amazing and brilliant insights, when he was hospitalized with neurosyphilis on his way to death.
micromass
#11
Mar10-12, 08:30 AM
Mentor
micromass's Avatar
P: 18,099
Quote Quote by MarcoD View Post
From Wikipedia:



For the rest, it is often diagnosed as early onset of dementia. Or rather, that was the historical reference. And I think it is known that psychoses leads to brain damage, but I lost the link.
Wikipedia is still not considered a peer-reviewed source. Furthermore, where is the proof of your assertion that schizophrenics have lower intelligence??
Evo
#12
Mar10-12, 09:52 AM
Mentor
Evo's Avatar
P: 26,487
Interesting information on the positive outlook for schizophrenia patients.

The outlook for people with schizophrenia continues to improve. Although there is no cure, treatments that work well are available. Many people with schizophrenia improve enough to lead independent, satisfying lives.

Continued research and understanding in genetics, neuroscience, and behavioral science will help scientists and health professionals understand the causes of the disorder and how it may be predicted and prevented. This work will help experts develop better treatments to help people with schizophrenia achieve their full potential.
http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publi...te-index.shtml

Also, schizophrenia usually starts with low IQ, not that it causes low IQ.

Schizophrenia is consistently associated with lower IQ compared to the IQ of control groups, or estimated premorbid IQ. It is not likely that the IQ scores deteriorate during the prodromal phase or first psychotic episode; they are already present before the onset of the prodromal phase and have been detected in childhood.

The IQ scores in our sample were lower than average. The IQ showed a relation with attention, memory, speed of information processing and some aspects of executive functioning. However, when IQ scores were corrected for processing speed, they were no longer below average.
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/1...302.x/abstract
MarcoD
#13
Mar10-12, 11:46 AM
P: 98
Quote Quote by micromass View Post
Wikipedia is still not considered a peer-reviewed source. Furthermore, where is the proof of your assertion that schizophrenics have lower intelligence??
The references are in the Wikipedia article, I think they refer to the lancet. Which should be good enough for you. I am sorry, but Google it and you get about a hundred references for the second statement. I don't really feel like commenting on it anymore; it's not really a happy thing.

Ah well, I Googled it for your.
Evo
#14
Mar10-12, 12:52 PM
Mentor
Evo's Avatar
P: 26,487
Quote Quote by MarcoD View Post
Ah well, I Googled it for your.
You said that schizophrenia made people dumber. I previously posted evidence to the contrary.

From your link
Sixty patients and 27 controls were assessed again 1 and 3 years later. There was no evidence that those with IQ deterioration at baseline continued on a declining cognitive trajectory or that those with preserved average/high IQ experienced subsequent IQ decline. The low IQ group showed no change in IQ, whereas both the DIQ and the preserved IQ groups improved.


Register to reply

Related Discussions
What is relation between dopamine and schizophrenia? Medical Sciences 3
A good video on schizophrenia Medical Sciences 0
Creative minds 'mimic schizophrenia' General Discussion 3
Heritance percentage of schizophrenia? Biology 1
Neuroprotection in schizophrenia Medical Sciences 1