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A discussion on a different approach to mental illness

  1. Jul 18, 2004 #1
    The following is a discussion paper I wrote some time ago. It suggests a change in attitude to the treatment and possible therapies available for persons suffering mental Illnesses. At first glance it may appear to be rather radical but actually it is quite conservative. Cognitive behaviour therapy taken a step further,

    The premise of this paper is approximately 12 years of "casual" research and discussion with consumers of the mental health industry here in Melbourne Australia. Your comments and feedback would be very appreciated.

    Mental Illness
    A new approach
    A Discussion Paper

    When considering the nature of mental illness it is important that we define what it is we are considering.

    Mental illness is a mental condition that prevents the sufferer from participating in life in the way he or she would wish. It is a condition that places the sufferer in a state of dysfunction.

    It is a condition that society wants to protect itself from for it deems the mental state of the sufferer to be precarious, unreal and relatively unpredictable.

    Within the following example of mental aberration I will use the condition notoriously referred to as Schizophrenia.

    Schizophrenia demonstrates the greatest variety and complexities of the aberrant mental state and I intend to suggest a way that will allow us to treat and cure this condition.

    w w w w

    Schizophrenia is about ability,

    not ordinary ability but extraordinary ability.

    At some time in the patient’s life his brain has acquired a sensory ability or abilities that the patient has little to no control over. The ability(s) are acquired intuitively and usually discounted as inconsequential by the patient himself and as delusion or hallucination by the medical profession when he or she is finally admitted to hospital or some form of professional therapy and care.

    The abilities I refer to are of a sensory nature: intuitive sensory abilities of an extraordinary nature. The patient immediately becomes embattled with what he senses as ordinary sensory behaviour and that which he himself would consider extraordinary sensory ability.

    At this juncture it is worth considering for a moment what it is we may actually be sensing.

    It has been known for some time that we are instinctively receptive to Pheromones, that is chemicals secreted by ourselves and other animals.

    For example pheromones have been linked to issues such as sexual attraction and fear responses; all instinctive in nature.

    Our ability to sense these pheromones can cause profound changes in our moods and thinking. Our imaginations being heavily influenced by what we sense. It is proposed that by learning again how to interpret these scents (Pheromones) we may afford the patient some benefit

    Society is telling him that his ability is delusional and yet he knows that it isn’t. His imagination tries to accommodate society and his own experiences, putting himself in a state of self delusion because he is inclined to deny his ability as real because society is saying that this is the case.

    So we have at least two abilities happening. The first is his ability to know what is extraordinary (Aberrant) sensing this and the actual intuitive ability that he has acquired which is also sensed.

    A classic example would be paranoid schizophrenia where by the patient feels a strong sense of conspiracy, that the CIA or the police are watching him or his parents are threatening to kill him etc.

    A normal person is quite capable of sensing conspiracy in fact we are all part of a conspiracy. We are all part of everyone else’s plans. The wife or girlfriend is planning a special dinner. The government is planning to introduce a new tax. The guy down the pub is planning to punch him in the nose etc.

    So the patient has developed an ability to sense conspiracy to a depth that would be considered extraordinary. His sense of reality is threatened and he becomes deluded trying to deal with his sensory ability and that which society would consider normal.

    For instance he senses his girlfriend’s plans for dinner and feels threatened because of his fear of his ability to sense this. He behaves badly trying to cope with all the mixed signals that his brain is trying to interpret. He behaves badly and arrives in the hospital in an extreme state of anxiety.

    The premise I am using here is that fear is always real. Not always understood for what it is but very real and valid. The ability to understand and learn from it is the ability that needs to be learned and it is only by achieving understanding and learning that the patient has any chance of recovery.

    To deny the ability is to provoke delusion. To nurture the ability is to free the patient of delusion.

    Strangely enough it is society’s state of delusion as to the nature of Schizophrenia that is actually perpetrating and enforcing a delusion upon the sufferer. Society having the delusion that extraordinary ability doesn’t exist. Which is of course not true as some of our most gifted people exhibit extraordinary ability all of which could be considered intuitive.

    I am suggesting that the patient’s sensory abilities have somehow achieved a greater depth than would be considered normal and like a person studying martial arts the patient must learn sensory discipline and nurture his ability to the level that he is comfortable with.

    I believe that our current approach to Schizophrenia is in fact quite deluded and as you would now understand the patient is also aware of this causing even more grief.

    Medication rejection, hospitalisation rejection etc are all symptoms of our “insane” approach to schizophrenia: the patient being caught between two worlds and not knowing what to believe.

    Sensory ability is essentially reflexive in that until controlled by other governing reflexes the ability continues to exist at all times in a way that is ungoverned and it is only when the ability is governed by learned reflexes that the ability is controlled and the patient’s anxiety and comfort levels return to “normal”

    w w w w


    What I propose is that the patient be treated as a person who has abilities yet to be governed and not denied.

    That the treating staff attempt to identify what abilities are in play and structure a learning and therapy program that helps the patient in the achievement of comfort by allowing him to achieve the skills and disciplines needed.

    Many programs can be developed that are able to help the patient with the above in mind.

    Open mindedness to what the patient is describing as delusion and treating the description in the light of uncontrolled intuitive ability will achieve significant results.

    By acknowledging the reality of our reaction to Pheromones and working with this sensory ability will be of benefit .

    Schizophrenia = Acute Sensory Disorder

    Care to discuss?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 20, 2004 #2


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    Schizophrenia goes a little further than this. My aunt was schizophrenic, and usually spent family get-togethers sitting in the corner and talking to people that don't exist. To suggest that this is not a dysfunction is not only counterproductive and dangerous, but it is a little insulting.
  4. Jul 20, 2004 #3
    In the interests of improving this article can you point out where I suggest that "this is not" a dysfunctional state?

    Where have I stated that this is a normal state?
    BTW I am sorry if I gave that impression, I also lost a brother to schizophrenia

    (suicide) so I understand your angst if the impression I gave was wrong.
  5. Jul 21, 2004 #4


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    It isn't that you present schizophrenia as a normal state, but rather that you present it as a (largely) positive thing. You seem to be implying in your article that schizophrenics are not delusional because of the disease they have, but because of a view of schizophrenia as a disease rather than as a little-understood sensory enhancement. I do think there is something in the view of schizophrenics as people who sometimes do possess an extraordinary clairvoyance in narrow fields (look no further than John Nash), but they are also delusional, and they also hallucinate. They may see meta-attributes and abstract relationships that others cannot see, but they also see seemingly physical objects that are not actually there.

    I'm no expert on this matter, but my girlfriend was planning to start a thread on schizophrenia here - she's been researching it in her spare time - so maybe I'll get her to post in this thread.
  6. Jul 23, 2004 #5
    Just a little story that has some relevance to this thread.

    And observation:

    I was sitting in a Shopping centre Food hall. To my left was a person obviously Down Sydrome talking to his imaginary friend quite happilly. To my right was a man, seemingly the typical business type also sitting talking to n invisable friend but using a ear attachment connected to a mobile telephone.

    Both persons appeared to be in imaginary conversations. It struck me that if the person suffering delusions of communication with persons unseen accepted his condition and was not forced in to hiding his condition his general state of anxiety would reduce just as this Down Sydrome person was.

    By refusing the patients reality we provoke delsuion.

    By accepting the patients so called delusion as real then we have a chance of recovery.

    The problem is that doctors do not know the full nature of the mind but are prepared to claim delusion when in fact it is the doctors and society who "MAY" be inspiring delusion by claiming the patients experience is unreal.

    Hallucinations both auditory and visual are symptomatic not just of an abnormal imagination but an imagination reacting to stimulus.

    That stimulus is interpreted and seen as a dream might be the problem being that the patient is not asleep but wide awake.

    Does the medical profession know why and how we dream? Are dreams considered delusion?

    Is a dream a halucination?
  7. Jul 25, 2004 #6
    "Waking Life" anyone?
  8. Jul 26, 2004 #7
    No one says a schizophrenic should be called crazy.

    No one says that what a schizophrenic perceives isn't real to them.

    And one way to deal with schizophrenia may be to work with their delusionary thoughts and see if you can come to some sort of functional balance between their delusions and reality. This is not a cure, but perhaps a solution.

    They are very much lost in their own minds, sometimes unable to distinguish thoughts from voices and ideas from reality. But that doesn't mean that they can just change how they think. That is why this is a disease, something they can't possibly control is out of whack. And I believe there are some functional schizophrenics living in society who have found ways to adapt to life with their condition. I believe there are those who have learned to live with the disease.. some by recognizing the reality of their condition and who have found ways to identify their hallucinations for what they are, and others have adopted somewhat strange personal religions that work for them at least most of the time.

    You seem very vague in your paper. You sound as if you disagree with the term hallucination for describing the phenomena that goes on with schizophrenics and instead would rather use a term like “extraordinary sensory ability”. Care to elaborate?

    Definition of Hallucination: Perception of visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory, or gustatory experiences without an external stimulus and with a compelling sense of their reality, usually resulting from a mental disorder or as a response to a drug.
  9. Jul 27, 2004 #8
    Thanks for your response,
    I would amend this definition to read "without known or obvious external stimulus"
    My definition of "halucination" is that in response to sensory stimulus the imagination produces an effect, usually described as visual and that experience is compounded by the memory of that experience.
    The persons imagination trying to cope with stumulus that is not normally recognised.

    The same could be said of paranoia and other behavoural aspects.

    Could I just add at this moment that my paper is not complete and only offers the idea that once we accept that external stimulus is involved and that this stimulus is usually subliminal, such as pheromones we have an oportunity to treat this condition by training the patients senses and imagination to cope with the stmulus.

    Another point is that Schizophrenia in my opinion, is not a diagnosis. It is only a descriptive term used in ignorance to descripe a set of symptoms.

    Unfortunately by only using this term as a diagnosis patients have only to draw there own conclusions as to the causality.

    When a person is diagnosed with Cardio vascular disease they know also that a heat attack is a possible symptom.

    I tend to believe that even if erronous, a diagnosis of Acute Sensory Disorder would achieve a better prognosis than just simply describing or claiming as a set of symptoms.

    Also it is worth considering that in some Stroke patients symptoms are similar but are explained in terms of propriorception loss which includes out of body experiences and some extreme mysticism.

    There are significant paralells betweeen the symptomology of certain stroke victims and that of a schizophrenic ( ASD ) sufferer.

    From what i have found the imagination is reflexive in it's functions and when confronted with unusual stimuli it can become very active. Placing the person in a state of extreme anxiety and confusion. This state perpetuating itself until the fear and confusion is relieved.

    By treating the patient as suffering from ASD we have an ability to not only take the patients condition more thoughtfully but offer treatments including medications that offer a better prognosis. But most importantly it puts the illness into a medical frame work within the patients mind as being tangible and real. (As in a real illness)
    The patient knowing what it is that is driving him "crazy" so to speak with out resorting to his already over active mind for grounding.

    The primary sense at issue is Olfactory (Smell), and if we approach this illness as a problem with this primary sense we would achieve results.

    At present my own work with persons has proved very promising. But I am unqualified to do this work in an official capacity.
  10. Jul 27, 2004 #9
    We fundamentally disagree on the nature of schizophrenia. I believe that some disorder causes the imagination to lead to false perceptions. You believe real perceptions (the externally induced kind) lead to imagination. We simply have a difference in opinion.

    However you asked how you may be able to improve your paper. You really should start by stating that fundamentally you don't believe in hallucinations. You shouldn't try to give the word hallucination a new definition, that becomes confusing and misleading because the word hallucination means something very specific. This is the key concept in your viewpoint and it needs to be made clear to the reader from the beginning.
  11. Jul 27, 2004 #10
    I agree with your advice, thank you. The paper argues it's case poorly and I will work on it some more.
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