How Can Two Such Radically Different Experiences Both Be Called “Schizophrenia”?

In The Lancet Psychiatry, psychiatrist Jose Andres Saez Fonseca disposes with the language of "the diagnostic manuals," and intimately describes two troubled people he once knew, and the very different inner worlds each of them lived within. He then laments that "schizophrenia" seems to be a poor and misleading label for either of these people's experiences, let alone for both of them. More →

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Different Antipsychotics Have Different Effects on Brain Volume

First generation antipsychotics seem to cause general brain volume loss, while second generation antipsychotics seem to both increase and decrease the thickness of different parts of the brain, according to a study led by University of Melbourne researchers published in Psychological Medicine. And the effects on the brain, they found, are noticeable within a matter of months of beginning to take the medications. More →

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How Come the Word “Antipsychiatry” is so Challenging?

So here we go again; another meeting with another young person who describes how he is in an acute crisis – you may call it – and is diagnosed and prescribed neuroleptics. He is told by the doctor that he suffers from a life-long illness and he will from now on be dependent on his “medication.” As long as people are met this way I see no alternative than showing that there are alternatives. If that means being “antipsychiatry,” then I am more than happy to define myself and our work in that way.
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Quotations From the Genetics “Graveyard”: Nearly Half a Century of False Positive Gene Discovery Claims in Psychiatry

In a 1992 essay, British psychiatric genetic researcher Michael Owen wondered whether schizophrenia molecular genetic research would become the “graveyard of molecular geneticists.”1 Owen predicted that if major schizophrenia genes existed, they would be found within five years of that date. He was optimistic, believing that “talk of graveyards is premature.”2 Owen now believes that genes for schizophrenia and other disorders have been found, and was subsequently knighted for his work. Despite massively improved technology, however, decades of molecular genetic gene finding attempts have failed to provide consistently replicated evidence of specific genes that play a role in causing the major psychiatric disorders.
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My Mysterious Son

In the autumn of 1996, my son was seventeen when he told me one day on the way home from school: “I don’t know what’s happening, I can’t find my old self again.” He’d had a seemingly marvelous summer staying with family in Mexico, fishing and learning to surf. He’d achieved nearly a full scholarship for his junior year at a Boston private school. However, one teacher had observed that, in class, he “sometimes seems to be out of touch and unable to focus his mind.”
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“Auditory Hallucinations: Debunking the Myth of Language Supremacy”

In Schizophrenia Bulletin, an Australian and a French researcher argue that the Hearing Voices Movement and similar groups are often misleading the public and researchers with their focus on voice hallucinations to the exclusion of the broader category of "auditory hallucinations" -- the latter of which can often be simply noises. "Voices are a preferred term [by the Hearing Voices Movement], as it makes a connection to a meaningful human experience rather than 'an arbitrary content induced by disease,'" states the article. More →

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Psychiatrists’ Prescriptions for First-time Psychosis Often Don’t Follow Guidelines

"Many patients with first-episode psychosis receive medications that do not comply with recommended guidelines for first-episode treatment," states a National Institute of Mental Health press release about a new NIMH study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry. The study found that about 40% of patients who'd been diagnosed with having psychotic experiences for the first time in their lives were being too heavily medicated right away. More →

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How are Professional Artists Similar and Different from People Diagnosed with Schizophrenia?

People "who are prone to psychosis" in its most "extreme" forms, such as delusions, hallucinations, and disorganized thought, have been found to also show especially elevated levels of creativity, writes a team of Austrian researchers in Frontiers in Psychology. However, in a review of the literature on this topic, they conclude that there is at least one key difference between those people who tend to only struggle with their psychotic experiences and those who manage to succeed in the arts. More →

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Art Therapy Shows Promise for Helping Live with Schizophrenia

Psychodynamic art therapy shows promise in helping in-patients diagnosed with schizophrenia, according to a study by German psychiatric researchers in PLOS One. More →

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Neuroscientists Recreate Ghostly Presences in Laboratory

Neuroscientists have been able to consistently recreate in people the feeling of another person or ghostly entity hovering nearby, according to a study reported in Mediacom. After examining people with epilepsy who frequently have the experience, the researchers theorized there was a type of brain-perception "dissonance" at work. More →

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Why Do Congenitally Blind People Never Get Diagnosed with Schizophrenia?

"A long-standing enigma in psychiatry has been why no-one has been able to find someone who has both congenital blindness and a diagnosis of schizophrenia," writes Mind Hacks. And a new study into the phenomenon published in Frontiers of Human Neuroscience "raises more questions than it answers." More →

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Environment Predicts Schizophrenia Risk Better than Genes

We should focus more on reducing or preventing specific environmental and lifestyle risk factors for schizophrenia, because genetic risk factors have no predictive capability whatsoever, according to a study in The Lancet Psychiatry. More →

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“Preventing the Onset of Psychosis: Not Quite There Yet”

Robert Heinssen and Thomas Insel of the National Institute of Mental Health argue in Schizophrenia Bulletin that the balance of evidence does not support early intervention in psychosis. More →

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Canadian Study: Most Mental Disorder Symptoms Declining in Youth

Data from a series of large, national longitudinal surveys show that symptoms of most mental illnesses in Canadian youth have in fact been stable or declining since 1994, according to a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. So why does the opposite seem to be occurring, asked the authors. More →

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Could “Brain Training” Help with “Schizophrenia Storms”?

NPR Shots discusses a new study examining whether people struggling with schizophrenia sensory overloads can train their own brains to more effectively deal with the experiences. More →

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Poor Fruit & Vegetable Intake Common Among People Experiencing Psychosis

Nearly three-quarters of people who identify as experiencing psychosis eat less than four servings of fruit and vegetables per day, according to research published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry. More →

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How Is Vitamin D Related to Schizophrenia Experiences?

People who are actively having schizophrenia experiences have significantly lowered Vitamin D levels compared to people "in remission," according to research in Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology. More →

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Treating Schizophrenia Before Children Have It

NPR Shots discusses the plethora of new programs for early intervention for psychosis, with a focus on Ventura Early Intervention Prevention Services, operated by Alameda-based Telecare Corp. "VIPS is one of a handful of programs that have sprung up in California in recent years, based on a model developed in Maine by psychiatrist Dr. Bill McFarlane," reports NPR. More →

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Exercise Could Be an Effective Treatment for Schizophrenia

Due to the positive effects of exercise on specific neuroprotective brain proteins, physical exercise shows promise as a potential non-pharmacological treatment for schizophrenia, according to a study published in Psychiatry Research. Two other studies appearing in other journals this month provide support for these findings. More →

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Major Risks from Drug Interactions in Common Psychiatric Polypharmacy

It is very common for psychiatric patients, especially those diagnosed with schizophrenia, to be prescribed two or more psychiatric medications at once, and this confers significant health risks from rarely studied drug interactions, according to Turkish University School of Medicine researchers publishing in the Bulletin of Clinical Psychopharmacology. The researchers stated that theirs was the first such study to look specifically at the dangers of psychiatric drug interactions "in real life conditions." More →

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Antipsychotic Medications Are Causing Obsessive Compulsive Disorders

Common second-generation antipsychotic medications are causing symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder to emerge in many people who previously only had schizophrenia symptoms, according to a review of the medical literature published in Current Psychiatry Reports. In some cases, the researchers wrote, these symptoms are occurring for the first time, or significantly worsening, in nearly half of patients, or causing "full threshold Obsessive Compulsive Disorder." More →

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Rap Embraces Schizophrenia and Owns It

Vanderbilt University psychiatrist Jonathan Metzl, author of The Protest Psychosis, has published a brief history of "schizophrenia" in relation to African American culture in the journal Transition. The article opens and closes with quotes from modern rap lyrics, showing the ways in which black artists often embrace and even boast about their own schizophrenia, and Metzl explores some of the historical roots of such uses of the term within anti-establishment black culture. More →

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One-third of Youth Treated for Bipolar Developed Schizophrenia Symptoms

Over one-third of young people who were treated for bipolar disorder developed schizophrenia within eight years, according to a study in Schizophrenia Research. In addition, treatment with antipsychotics was "significantly associated" with poor psychosocial adaptation. More →

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Thinking of Schizophrenia as Normal Can Be Helpful

Daniel Helman had a psychotic episode at age 20, but has been off all psychiatric medications since 2006 and is now 44. In Schizophrenia Bulletin, he describes how he always refused to resign himself to the notion that he would never recover, the practical strategies that have helped him, and how important it has always been to recognize that the "symptoms" of schizophrenia can also be seen as normal and even life-affirming in different contexts. More →

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What Happens When Paranoid Feelings that You’re Being Watched are Correct?

McGill News reviews the new book Suspicious Minds: How Culture Shapes Madness, and discusses its themes with co-author McGill Canada Research Chair in Philosophy and Psychiatry Ian Gold. The book, reports McGill News, explores how expanding public surveillance may be reinforcing or even creating new forms of paranoic disorders about being watched and tracked. “We live in a culture with cameras in public places, where governments sometimes spy on their citizens, and someone could reveal your secrets on Facebook," Gold tells McGill News. "People who are predisposed to certain kinds of mental illness are very sensitive to fears of being watched and manipulated by others. So our culture could be pushing these people over the edge.” More →

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