Do you know what insanity is truly like?

  • #26
jimmy p
Gold Member
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Actually I remember my Grandad telling me that his friend of 40 or so years got very depressed and dispondent when his wife died. In fact this guy ended up not recognising my Grandad and eventually was so caught up in his own world he didnt even notice when the nurses came in or anything. He was in a mental home. But imagine forgetting a friend of 40 years?
 
  • #27
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Loren Booda said:
Tolerating, even enjoying, the company of folks with mental illness brings out a self-therapeutic attitude and reveals mutual psychological mysteries. Remember your accepting approach may save lives by exercising a modicum of appropriate effort.
A friend I had a long time ago once decided to start a conversation with a well known neighborhood "crazy" who talked to himself out loud all the time. He was curious and concerned about what they guy was going through. The guy senced my friend's concern and opened up to him as best he could, described the voices he heard and his scattered thinking, and told a little bit about his life. My friend said that he noticed for two days after the conversation the guy wasn't talking out loud to himself anymore. The brief, meaningful, non-judgemental contact had had a partially stabilizing effect on him.
 
  • #28
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Thallium said:
I have suffered from depression and I also lived through a shorter period of hallucinations. The hallucinations were a consquence of the depression as it often is in cases with depressions lasting longer than 6 months. I had it for around 8-9 months.
When depression includes some hallucinations, they tack on specifier # 4 to the diagnosis: "4-Severe with psychotic features." The same can happen with mania. A manic episode can become more than an extreme emotional state and can also include hallucinations. They then call it "4-Severe with psychotic features."

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders has a brief warning that isn't paid enough attention to, in my opinion, that 9 out of 10 NON-audiory hallucinations (meaning visual, or involving any other sence beside hearing) are believed to be caused by organic problems. If you rule out any drug use, then visual hallucinations, or any hallucinations that don't fit the "hearing voices" category, should be suspected to be symptoms of an organic problem.

I don't know what type of hallucinations you experienced, Thalium, but I hope they did extensive testing for metabolic disorders and the kind of mild, non-convulsive seizures that can cause both depression and hallucinations. The fact is that even "hearing voices" isn't a sure sign of a "mental" illness: many people hear them as part of complex-partial seizures.

Adrenaline can back me up on that. She mentioned in an earlier thread that her brother was tested for all these things.

Zooby
 
  • #29
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jimmy p, perhaps you're describing dementia.

zooby, I've heard that 2/3 of all hallucinations are auditory, and most of the rest visual.

adrenaline, people with bipolar need to schedule their sleep closely (<<100 hours a week awake!) or they risk relapse. I know firsthand it's a long way down from the Ivies to a public mental institution.

Maybe the thing most terrifying about delusional thinking is the very real prospect of suicide.
 
  • #30
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Loren Booda said:
Did you know that I have worked on an 800-mental health line for nine years? I field mostly informational calls, but some callers attempt to seek counseling or crisis intervention.

Loren, I have the highest respect for your strength and courage in combating the disease all these years and the kindest of intention in sharing with us what you have gone through so that we will be better able to empathise with and accept those with the same condition. What would have been futile and horrible suffering has been transformed by you into meaningful and dedicated efforts for the alleviation of others' pain, this is very commendable and I salute you. There is no better comfort than that from those who have been there.

I was told on Saturday that a friend's little daughter is diagnosised with a nasty brain tumour in the central nervous system that cannot be operated and it is growing at 1 cm/month. Her eyes are skew and her limbs are numb now. It is a saddening picture but it is in heavy moments like this that we look at our lives, ponder on their meaning and head for possible transformation.
 
  • #31
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Polly,

I am so sorry that a beautiful little child can be the victim of a terrible disease. Compared to her, I am a coward. I'm sure she would much rather be well than a "heroine" in this case, though.

I have worked a good amount with children, enough to develop a genuine rapport and gradual trust. One reason that I will not have kids myself is the combined genetic (12% chance for each child to develop the disease), financial and emotional stress involved, intensified by schizoaffective disorder.

The disease is one of psychic despair seeking an elusive reality - much like the situation of Sisyphus and Tantalus in Hades, or even more so Persephone allowed 6 months on Earth, and 6 in Hell. Without my medicine I believe adult life would have been all pain, no pleasure, and very short.
 
  • #32
jimmy p
Gold Member
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What is dementia then?
 
  • #33
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My definition? Dementia is an organic (physical) degeneration of the brain usually arising in later life, and associated with diseases like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, or even AIDS. The mental illnesses I refer to (schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD, etc.) are basically biochemical with a genetic predisposition and often onset in adolescence or late adulthood.

The distinction between dementia and mental illness is not entirely definite. Try that website again - NAMI
 
  • #34
adrenaline
Science Advisor
100
3
Loren Booda said:
adrenaline, people with bipolar need to schedule their sleep closely (<<100 hours a week awake!) or they risk relapse. I know firsthand it's a long way down from the Ivies to a public mental institution.

Yes, he know it all too well. When he gets into these schedules he almost goes near manic and has to take extra zyprexa. Thus, he is in the midst of a career change.

Zooby is right, have other organic causes been ruled out? Wilson's disease, complex partial seizures, endocrine disorders etc?
 
  • #35
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Dementia

Diagnostic Criteria:

1. Impairment in short- and long-term memory
2. At least 1 of the following:
  • 1. Impairment in abstract thinking
  • 2. Impaired judgment
  • 3. Other disturbances of higher cortical function
  • 4. Personality change
3. Memory impairment and intellectual impairment caused significant social and occupational impairments
4. Absence of occurrence exclusively during the course of Delirium
5. Either of the following:
  • 1. Evidence of an organic factor causing this impaired memory and intellect
  • 2. Impaired memory and intellect cannot be accounted for by any nonorganic mental disorder
 
  • #36
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Loren Booda said:
Using hunt-and-peck typing and obsessive editing, it is hard for me to maintain voluminous communication.

Did you know that I have worked on an 800-mental health line for nine years? I field mostly informational calls, but some callers attempt to seek counseling or crisis intervention.

Hey there Loren

Yes thallium is an extremely poisonous element. I have a thing with poisons, but do not think I am a killer or anything..

I have barely heard of schizoaffective disorder. What is that about?

May I ask how old you are? How do you cope with the 800-mental help line?
The strange thing about me when I was ill was that I wanted to help other people so badly. I wanted to talk to others suffering from the same symptoms.

The doctors did never check me because I never told anyone about my hallucinations. I experienced only auditory hallucinations, particularly laughter, voices that called me names and one of them which was very vivid said: "Jesus! What an ugly witch she is!" That was when I read for a test, leant back and rested my eyes and suddenly, I felt a man over me shouting this in my ear. He was so close I could feel the sounds of eevrything else behind me being blocked away and it was like his jacket scraped against the sofa. I hopped up from the sofa and was completely breathless. I remember that so well.
 
  • #37
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Details of diagnosis for Schizo-Affective Disorder: http://www.psychologynet.org/schizaff.html [Broken]
 
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  • #38
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Adam,

I prefer http://www.nami.org/Template.cfm?Section=By_Illness&Template=/TaggedPage/TaggedPageDisplay.cfm&TPLID=3&ContentID=10843 [Broken]

thallium,

I'm 45, and thrive as a part-time information specialist. As I may have mentioned, it is both stressful and therapeutic. Socialization is key in helping people who are actually isolated by voices. Talk therapy is all too rare and much needed for psychiatric patients. I, too, was bombarded by a whole range of insults, as if part of my brain was working against the other. Oddly, rarely do the voices seem to contradict perceived reality to disprove themselves.
 
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  • #39
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Okay, "insanity" is not a psychological term at all. It is a legal term. It does not apply in psychology.

Most psychological conditions do not constitute "disabilities". In fact, many involve superior abilities in certain areas. Although to be fair, a great many involve greater ability in some areas and lesser ability in others, so it balances out. So, considering the occasional negatives, some conditions indicate disabilities.

Now, many things considered negative behaviours in terms of social standards are observed in people who are not necessarily experiencing psychological conditions often associated with those behaviours. For example, a rapist may not be a psychopath, although many texts link such activity to psychopathy. Thus it is rather improper to say a psychological condition is intrinsically linked to some negative behaviour. Personal choices of the individual play a much larger part in matters.

Now, having hopefully clarified some misunderstandings, I was diagnosed early last year with Asperger's Syndrome and a bucket of other things. On the other hand, the same thorough testing placed me rather high for IQ, I've never stolen a car or fed someone to a chipping machine (yet). Personally, I don't mind being different.
 
  • #40
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Loren, I admire you. You appear to me to be a very msart man who fights to live. Keep it up! Do you experience hearing inner voices while taking your medication? Does your stressful job affect your mental well-being/contribute to making the symptoms worse?

Cecilie (that is my real name)
 
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  • #41
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Adam,

I started learning about Asperger's just this year. It is not at all clear to me why it is in the DSM since it is obviously not a psychological or psychiatric condition, rather a neurological one.

Asperger's is practically unique in that it can present as a condition of being above average, or even gifted, in many areas, with the deficits often merely presenting as "eccentricities". People with Asperger's generally excel in some academic persuit, and enjoy research a great deal.

The primary deficit seems to be a social awkwardness due to the fact they aren't able to tune into subtle social cues that everyone else takes for granted. This is the main reason they seem "eccentric" to other people. Normally, that's as far as the problem goes unless there is social conflict, such as often arises in school situations, especially when there is a bully involved. Asperger's people don't fair well at all, here, and can become withdrawn outcasts. This is often when they are brought to the attention of the school psychologist.

I have read some literature which refers to Asperger's as a form of "high functioning autism." Personally, I think that is quite erroneous, and based on vague, superficial resemblances that are of no consequence.

One of the things that got me interested in the subject was a biography of Canadian Pianist, Glen Gould, in which the author made a very persuasive argument that Gould may have been an Asperger's person. He is considered the most brilliant pianist of the 20th century, but also probably the most eccentric, both personally and musically. He couldn't stand performing in public, despite being in great demand, and retired from the concert stage after a ten year carrear to retire to the recording studio, exclusively. He could not play without humming along loudly. They had to build a special studio to isolate him from the back half of the piano. Even then, they never completely blocked the sound of his humming: you can hear it on all his recordings. If he stopped humming, though, he couldn't play.
 
  • #42
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Thallium said:
The strange thing about me when I was ill was that I wanted to help other people so badly. I wanted to talk to others suffering from the same symptoms.
This concern for other people is quite unusual in mental illness. Depressed people normally withdraw, and ruminate on their own problems. Manic people are often without ethics and will lie cheat and steal to get their own way. Paranoid people are suspicious and self protective.

The only condition I've ever heard of which seems to bring out a strong concern for other people is temporal lobe epilepsy:

"Deeply held ethical convictions and a profound sense of right and wrong are observed in these patients. It is not unusual for them to exhibit interest in global issues such as national or international politics, They also become involved in issues that are not so global. Several patients exhbited an unusual degree of concern for the welfare of other patients, voluntarily helping with their nursing care while in the hospital and offering to visit them after discharge."

The Interictal Behaviour Syndrome of Temporal Lobe Epilepsy
Stephen G. Waxman, PhD, Norman Geschwind, MD
Arch Gen Psychiatry-vol 32, Dec 1975

The doctors did never check me because I never told anyone about my hallucinations.
Major depressions are a very tricky situation because sometimes they are the bottom half of of manic depression that hasn't manifested its manic side yet, and sometimes they are a symptoms of an undiagnosed seizure disorder. In the latter case the person is having simple or complex partial seizures in their sleep and they never realize it - no convulsions to wake up a companion or anything - you just wake up feeling incredibly crappy and still extremely tired and brain-fogged. Anti-depressents are dangerous in both cases. They can flip a depressed person over into mania, or cause a person with an undiagnosed seizure disorder to have a more serious seizure. Paxil and Wellbutrin are two of the worst for seizures.

Hearing voices isn't the most common simple partial seizure symptom, but it is nearly always listed as one of the possible symptoms these peculiar little seizures can cause.
 

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