Archive for category Schizophrenia
Individuals with schizophrenia experience more intense perceptual illusions while gazing into a mirror than do healthy people, according to a new study.
The new research also showed that patients with schizophrenia were more likely to believe the illusions they see in the mirror were real.
The research highlights the underlying ego dysfunction and body dysmorphic disorder found in schizophrenia.
According to the researchers, gazing at one’s own reflected face under low light can lead to ghostly experiences called “strange-face in the mirror” illusions. No study has previously focused on mirror gazing in schizophrenic patients, who already experience delirium, hallucination and self mis-attribution.
Stefano Zago of the University of Milan conducted the study to compare strange-face apparitions in response to mirror gazing in 16 patients with schizophrenia and 21 mentally healthy controls.
Subjects took a 7-minute mirror-gazing test, after which they filled out a specially designed questionnaire asking them to describe their strange-face perceptions.
The results show a number of differences between patients with schizophrenia and mentally healthy controls. Patients on average reported a greater total number of strange faces than controls, at 2.8 versus 1.5.
The types of strange faces also differed between patients and controls. Hugely deformed features were seen by all schizophrenia patients and 71% of controls, archetypal faces by 50% of patients and 19% of controls, and monstrous faces by 88% of patients and 29% of controls. Patients’ archetypical and monster faces were typically described as satanic beings.
Furthermore, patients tended to report greater intensity in the strange faces and were more likely to say that they felt real than controls.
Of note, mentally healthy participants felt dissociative experiences during the strange-face illusions and never identified with them.
Overall, the research suggests that strange-face illusions in schizophrenia can be caused by ego dysfunction, body dysmorphic disorder, or by misattribution of self-agency, said Zago.
The research is published in Schizophrenia Research.
Source: Schizophrenia Research
Among individuals with psychosis who are also heavy marijuana users, the age they first used marijuana is strongly linked to the age of their first bout of psychosis, according to a study of 57 patients.
Although marijuana use by itself is neither sufficient nor needed to trigger schizophrenia, “if cannabis use precipitates the onset of psychosis, efforts should be focused on designing interventions to discourage cannabis use in vulnerable individuals,” Dr. Juan A. Galvez-Buccollini and his associates said.
This caution pertains to someone with a first-degree relative with psychosis, which is “the highest risk factor for schizophrenia,” said Dr. Lynn E. Delisi, senior investigator for the study, a psychiatrist at the Boston VA Medical Center in Brockton, Mass., and professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, Boston.
If someone had a first-degree relative, “I would caution them about the consequences of cannabis use and the association with schizophrenia,” she said.
Findings from previous research has shown that marijuana use is associated with an earlier age of psychosis onset in people abusing multiple substances, but studies have not looked at a possible link between the onset of cannabis use itself and resulting psychosis.
Because of this, Dr. Galvez-Buccollini, a psychiatry researcher at VA Boston Healthcare System and Harvard, and his colleagues interviewed 57 patients with a current diagnosis of schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, schizophreniform disorder, or psychosis not otherwise specified, who also had a history of heavy cannabis use before the onset of psychosis. They defined heavy cannabis use as 50 or more uses during a one year period.
Average age of the subjects was 25 years with a range of 18-39 years. Of the total, 83 percent were men, and 88 percent were not married. The average age of psychosis onset was 22 years, and the average age for first psychosis-related hospitalization was 23.
Schizophrenia was the most common psychosis (42 percent), followed by schizoaffective disorder (32 percent). The average age of first marijuana use was 15, preceding psychosis onset by an average of 7 years.
During the study period, the prevalence of daily cannabis was 59 percent with another 30 percent reporting use 2-5 days per week, and the remaining 11 percent reporting weekly use. Alcohol abuse was 16 percent and alcohol dependence was 8 percent.
The researchers found a statistically significant link between the age when cannabis use first started and the age when psychosis was first diagnosed. This association was consistent after researchers excluded patients with any diagnosis of alcohol abuse or dependency during their lifetime.
The analysis also showed a strong link between the time a patient first smoked marijuana and their age of first psychosis hospitalization.
Marijuana affects dopamine receptors and can have other neurochemical effects.
“There are two components of cannabis, one that potentiates and another that antagonizes psychotic symptoms,” said Delisi. The balance between these two effects can differ among various strains of cannabis, she added.
Source: Schizophrenia Research
Posted by psychieblogger in Depression, Elisabeth Haug, Psychology, Research, Schizophrenia, Self Awareness, Self Experience, Sense Of Self, Spectrum Disorder, Spontaneous Experience, Stages Of Schizophrenia, Stream Of Consciousness, Subtle Disturbances, Suicide, Suicide Risk, Total Population, Vital Subject on July 25, 2012
Among patients having their first schizophrenia episode, a tendency for suicide is strongly linked to an altered sense of self — what some experts have labeled as a “self-disorder,” according to a study of 49 patients with schizophrenia.
Self-disorders are abnormal personal experiences. They are described as “subtle disturbances of the person’s spontaneous experience of himself or herself as a vital subject naturally immersed in the world,” said psychiatrist Dr. Elisabeth Haug of the division of mental health, Innlandet Hospital Trust, Ottestad, Norway.
For the study, the researchers evaluated the relationship between self-disorders and suicide in patients who had just been diagnosed with schizophrenia spectrum disorder, as suicide risk is especially great at this stage of the disease.
Researchers studied data from the Norwegian Thematically Organized Psychosis study, which used information from all mental health treatment facilities from two counties with a total population of 375,000 people.
Of the 49 adults who had been diagnosed over a 2-year period, 38 had schizophrenia , nine had schizoaffective disorder, and two had schizophreniform disorder.
All of the patients were evaluated with the Examination of Anomalous Self Experience (EASE) manual, a 57-item questionnaire that covers five factors of self-disorders: cognition and stream-of-consciousness, self-awareness and presence, bodily experiences, demarcation/transitivism, and existential reorientation.
An example question is “Have you ever felt as if thoughts in your head don’t really belong to you?” The questionnaire then asks for descriptions or examples from the patient rather than simple yes-or-no responses. Each EASE interview took 30-90 minutes.
The findings showed that patients with newly diagnosed schizophrenia spectrum disorder also had high levels of suicidality, self-disorders and high levels of depression.
“Our main finding is that of a clear association between current suicidality and (self-disorders), which appears to be mediated by depression,” said Haug and her colleagues.
This result “strongly support(s) the role of self-disorders in the development of suicidal ideation and behavior in this patient group.”
In an earlier study, other researchers found that individuals with self-disorders experience specific feelings of inferiority and solitude, which differ from normal feelings of low self-esteem or loneliness and represent “more fundamental feelings of being profoundly dissimilar to other people and thus unable to relate to others,” noted Haug.
I’ve been with my boyfriend for 7 months…One month of which was when he broke up with me in late March and we got back together in late April.
When I first met him, he said something along the lines of “Girls are LUCKY if they ever meet my friends and family.” I didn’t give much thought to it, because I thought, well, maybe he’s just saying that.
When we broke up in March, he dumped me saying I had too many demands and he couldn’t provide the love that I needed. When we got back together in late April, it turned out that he said he did a lot of thinking and couldn’t let me go because he “saw me in his future.” Still in love with him, I got back together with him.
Well, one day, I was cleaning his room (which I HAVE NEVER done for another man in my life ever before–I wanted to show him how special he is) and I noticed two hairpins on his end table that were not mine. I also noticed that the condoms he said “he ran out and bought because he was afraid of getting me pregnant while I started the birth control pills” were suddenly gone from the windowsill where they were a week ago…..I hate to say it, but 2 months into our relationship, we weren’t using condoms, and we still aren’t. (I got tested last week and am clear…but now I’m rethinking the non condom thing…stupid..I know).
So, my suspicions started. The next week, alone in his room (He lets me stay alone and sleep in in his apartment when we go out sun night, or a week night while he works–I have a weird not-too-typical schedule). So, I snooped. Yes. I did:( And, in a suitcase he uses as extra storage for his clothes, I found the clinic condoms that had been taken from the windowsill along with a box of Trojans (a ten count box) with only 4 condoms left. There was also an empty Trojan wrapper in with the rest of the condoms. Along with that, were my earrings and panties I had left a week before. Keep in mind, we have not used a condom since March, and before we got back together in April he moved from one apartment to a new one. Next, yes, snooped again:(, I checked his wallet (He didn’t bring it to work with him–just cash in his pocket). In his wallet was a condom and a card to an escort in the area he lives.
The following week when he got up to use the bathroom, I looked back in the wallet, and I noticed an additional condom put into the wallet (one was missing from the pocket in the suitcase) and the escort card was gone. I confronted him about all the condoms, and the wrapper, but I never mentioned the escort card–I still don’t know why I didn’t.
His explanations were: “Those were old clinic condoms I put back in there that we were gonna use.” Then he said the box was old and he just found it recently. When I pressed him about the condom wrapper, he said it was old. I said “Then why is the lube wet in it?” He finally said, in April, before we got back together, that he slept with a one night stand from a bar, and that must be the wrapper from the one night stand. He said silicone lube can stay wet if enclosed in a dark suitcase. True. I called the condom company, and they confirmed it can happen if its in a dark place:( yes, I know, already, sounds like I don’t trust him. When I asked about the wallet, he said that he carries condoms in his wallet because his brother who suffers from schizophrenia (paranoid type) checks his wallet to see if he has condoms every time he visits him to make sure that he is protected during sex because if he doesn’t he’ll tell the mother and the mother will get angry because he already got a girl pregnant. (I also know about his son and his sons mom–he visits every Friday, sometimes fri and sat). I said, “well doesn’t your brother know we do it at your place, and you’re with me?” He said, “He doesn’t believe things he cannot see.”
Okay, so that’s that part of it. Now, he won’t introduce me to his family because he says that it has to be over a year until I meet them. he says he won’t introduce me to his friends because, well, before we got back together in April, he said I needed “tweaking” I told him to accept me like I am or not, and then he stopped saying that when we got back together. Then he said his friends are busy all the time, and now he says I can’t meet them, because his friends are “stupid.” Okay, so we go on dates, but since we’ve been arguing about these issues, he rarely initiates calling me/texting me–unless I ask repeatedly. He says its because, every time I have seen him in the past two months, we have had a disagreement.
When I have confronted him, he says he does this with every girlfriend he has been with–it takes a while to meet ppl he knows.
I feel confused. The not calling, texting, and the random circumstantial evidence in his room–is it cheating? Or is it just typical guy forgetfulness sloppiness and distance from fighting too much?
And not introducing….does he really do this with everyone, or is it just with me? because I’m embarrassing, or a dirty little secret on the side? Please help! My last long term relationship was highly physically abusive (he knows this) and I just want a loving fulfilled one. Although, I still have extreme anxiety–I’m not perfect at all, either.
A: Hmmm – Let’s review: Hairpins that are not yours, condoms you aren’t using are missing, new condoms have been used and the wrapper for one is there, he is with his ex every Friday when he visits his son, and keeps a rubber in his wallet to keep his brother happy. Won’t introduce you to his friends or family and rarely calls or texts you.
What is it you love about this guy?
The bottom line is you just want a loving, fulfilled relationship. Without assuming he will change one bit — can you tolerate everything the way it is? If not, it is time to give him his walking papers.
But if you can tolerate it, a couples counselor may be necessary to help with the issues. The find help tab at the top of this page can help you find one in your area.
My mother is a schizophrenic. My mother is around 47 years old and she’s had schizophrenia since before she got married in her 20s I guess. My mother has turned against almost all of our relatives, we have no family friends and we barely go out. As they create scenarios in their mind and believe it’s true. I have a feeling my mother is gradually turning against us. Is this possible?
Also, I have a feeling that my brother (21) has also been genetically affected. Some people believe it might be some sort of demonic possession as the effects are on and off, but I think it might be schizophrenia. Can schizophrenia be passed on genetically?
A. Yes, unfortunately, it is possible for an individual with schizophrenia to “turn on their family.” I worked on a research study in which we were attempting to build a website for individuals with schizophrenia and their family members. We had to alter our recruiting process because we found that so few individuals with schizophrenia had retained positive connections with their family.
It is important to separate the individual from their illness. In other words, an individual with schizophrenia might “turn on their family” because of their symptoms, not because they don’t love their family. Individuals with schizophrenia are not thinking clearly. Schizophrenia is a thought disorder. Delusions, hallucinations and paranoia interrupt an individual’s logical thinking ability and tricks them into believing in a false reality. That is the cruel nature of the disease.
I worked with a client who believed that her husband was plotting to harm her. Every move he made was perceived as being part of his plot to harm her. At one point, she called the police and falsely reported that he was dealing drugs just so he would be arrested. She only did it because she wholeheartedly believed that he was attempting to harm her. He was not but in her illogical mind, he was. By having her husband arrested, she was attempting to protect herself.
In many ways, schizophrenia is a family disease because it affects the family to such a large degree. In the example above, it would’ve been understandable for the client’s husband to have been furious with her for having called the police but he realized that she did it because of her illness. No one wants to have or chooses to have schizophrenia. Schizophrenia afflicts people of any gender, race, or socioeconomic status.
With regard to schizophrenia being passed on genetically, it is possible. Having a family member with schizophrenia increases the likelihood that other family members will develop the disorder. It does not guarantee that members of the family will develop the disorder but the genetic risk is real, though slight.
Your brother is also showing signs of schizophrenia and “some people” believe that he is possessed by demons. Historically, individuals with schizophrenia were thought to have been possessed by demons. The current understanding of schizophrenia is that it is a brain disorder that is brought on or exacerbated by stress. If your brother is experiencing signs of schizophrenia, then he should be evaluated by a mental health professional immediately. Time is of the essence with regard to schizophrenia and psychosis. The sooner that he can begin treatment, the sooner his symptoms can be decreased or eliminated.
I would recommend contacting the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). NAMI is an advocacy group that provides support and psychoeducation about mental illnesses. Many NAMI members have family members with mental illnesses and can relate to your situation. I wish you the best of luck.