A Close Look at Andreasen et al.’s
Advice to Increase the Dosage of
Antipsychotics to Prevent
Brain Volume Reduction

Jill Littrell, PhD
86
132

Research by Andreasen et al. published in American Journal of Psychiatry in June of 2013 reported that the dosage of antipsychotic medication correlated with the reduction in the cortex volume; higher dosage was associated with greater reduction. In that same article, the authors suggested that, since they found brain shrinkage correlated with duration of relapse, curtailing or preventing the relapse would probably decrease damage. Their suggested mechanism for shortening the relapse process was to prescribe more drugs. The validity of Andreasen et al.’s advice rests on two assumptions: (1) psychotic symptoms are signals that a volume reducing process is occurring; (2) anti-dopaminergic drugs actually prevent the brain-volume-reducing process as opposed to merely masking downstream manifestations of this process. There is some support in the literature for the first assumption. However, there is reason to believe that while antipsychotic drugs can mask symptoms, they don’t touch the processes that cause the damage and may, in fact, exacerbate the damaging processes. Thus, using antipsychotic drugs to reduce symptoms of physiological damage is analogous to the fire department disconnecting the smoke detector but doing nothing to put out the fire.

Oxidative stress, that is too many free radicals with an unpaired electron, has been implicated in schizophrenia. Oxidative stress as well as the chemicals that rid the body of free radicals (e.g., uric acid and glutathione) can be measured in blood, in the cerebrospinal fluid, and in the brain. A number of investigators have found elevations in free radicals and lower levels of antioxidants in persons exhibiting psychosis who were not taking medications (Arvindakshan, et al., 2003; Khan et al., 2002; Li et al., 2011; Mahadik et al., 1998; Owe-Larsson, et al., 2011; Yao et al., 1998; Zhang et al., 2009). Furthermore, the level of oxidative stress in unmedicated persons with psychosis correlates with level of negative symptoms (Arvindakshan et al., 2003; Li, Zheng, Xiu 2011) and positive symptoms (Mahadik et al., 1998; Zhang et al., 2009). Moreover, alleles for genes involved in production of glutathione are associated with risk for psychosis (Carter, 2006). Free radicals can damage all kinds of molecules. Presumably, the free radicals are the proximal cause of cortex damage. The correlation between symptoms and increased levels of free radicals is consistent (although not definitive proof) that symptoms reflect an acute process of damage.

Getting from free radicals to psychosis: Animal research illuminates the link between the free radicals and the creation of symptoms. The free radicals impair the function of an enzyme that makes GABA and eventually kills the GABA interneurons (Sorce et al., 2010). In fact, alterations in chandelier cells, a type of GABAergic interneuron, have been identified in the brains of schizophrenics at autopsy (Lewis, 2011). The interneurons, when functioning properly, place a break on the release of glutamate and dopamine (Nakazawa et al., 2013, p. 8; Schwartz, Sachdeva, & Stahl, 2012; Sorce et al., 2010). The case for hallucinations being caused by excessive dopamine release in the Nucleus Accumbens is pretty strong (Nakazawa et al., 2013). Cocaine and amphetamines which increase levels of dopamine in the Nucleus Accumbens reliably cause psychotic symptoms, as anyone who works in emergency rooms knows.

What the antipsychotic drugs do: Antipsychotic drugs displace dopamine from its receptor sites on the post-synaptic neuron. The signaling that dopamine would otherwise induce in the post-synaptic neuron does not occur. In the presence of the antipsychotic drug, the downstream effects of excessive dopamine, psychotic symptoms, are precluded. However, the damage to the cortex is not caused by the dopamine signaling; it is caused by free radical excess and in some theories inflammatory processes, which the antipsychotic drugs may fail to influence. The data on how antipsychotics influence oxidative stress is inconclusive and some have argued that the medications enhance oxidative stress (Ng et al., 2008; Mahadik, et al., 2006).

Caveat: Admittedly, much of this story is speculative. Schizophrenia is diagnosed on the basis of psychotic symptoms. There are probably multiple pathways to the same endpoint of too much dopamine signaling. Some pathways may be associated with brain volume reduction whereas others are not. Moreover, the story on interneurons is complex. GABA, generally known as an inhibitory neurotransmitter, may have differing effects on various cell subtypes. There are many types of GABA interneurons, although most theories identify basket cells and chandelier cells as relevant to schizophrenia (Chattopadhyaya & Di Cristo, 2012; Lewis, 2011). There are multiple pathways to disturbance of the interneurons, including low levels of stimulation of these neurons at their membrane NMDA receptors (Nakazawa et al. 2012). Moreover, interneurons play a role in both brain development and brain function. In the fetus, they help to set up the developing brain architecture. Obviously identifying proximal causes for various symptoms and possible brain volume reduction in unmedicated persons with schizophrenia will be difficult. I am also aware that Moncrieff has argued that brain volume reduction is not a component of the natural history of schizophrenia; so this also is controversial. However, if one assumes that the unmedicated trajectory of schizophrenia entails brain damage at least for some subtypes of schizophrenia, problems remain with Andreasen et al.’s recommendation. Proof is required that the antipsychotic drugs influence the mechanism for creating brain volume reduction.

Bottom Line: Before advising fellow physicians to increase the dosage of antipsychotic drugs to prevent brain volume reduction, it is important to show the following: first, demonstrate that symptoms, in fact, reflect the occurrence of a damaging process; second, demonstrate that any treatment intervention actually targets the damaging process itself and not just the downstream symptoms of this process. Hopefully, in future research, Andreasen et al. will measure free radicals to determine their correlation with symptoms of florid psychosis, brain shrinkage, and how antipsychotic drugs influence the free radicals. Before acting, it is important to “first do no harm”.

Citations:

Arvindakshan, M., Sitasawad, S., Debsikdar, V., Ghate, M., Evans, D., Horrbin, D. F., Bennett, C., Ranjekar, P. K., & Mahadik, S. P. (2003). Essential polyunsaturated fatty acid and lipid peroxide levels in never-medicated and medicated schizophrenic patients. Biological Psychiatry, 53, 1, 56-64.

Carter, C. J. (2006). Schizophrenia susceptibility genes converge on interlinked pathways related to glutamateric transmission and long-term potentiation, oxidative stress, and oligodendrocyte viability. Schizophrenia Research, 86, 1-14.

Chattopadhyaya, B., & Di Cristo, G. (2012). GABAertic circuit dysfuntions in neurodevelopmental disorders. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 3, Aricle 51.

Do, K. Q., Trabesinger, A. H., Kirsten-Kruger, M., Lauer, C. J., Dydak, U., Hell, D., Holsboer, F., Boesiger, P., Cuenod, M. (2000). Schizophrenia: glutathione deficit in cerebrospinal fluid and prefrontal cortex in vivo. European Journal of Neuroscience, 12, 3721-3728.

Khan, M. M., Evans, D.R., Guanna, V., Scheffer, R. E., Parikh, V.V., & Mahadik, S. P. (2002). Reduced erythrocyte membrane essential fatty acids and increased lipid peroxides in schizophrenia at the never-medicated first-episode of psychosis and after years of treatment with anti-psychotics. Schizophrenia Research, 58 (1), 1-10.

Lewis, D. A. (2011). The chandelier neuron in schizophrenia. Developmental Neurobiology, 7 (1), 118-127.

Li, X.F., Zheng, Y. L., Xiu, M. H., Chen, D. C., Kosten, T. R., & Zhang, X. Y. (2011). Reduced plasma total antioxidant status in first-episode drug-naïve patients with schizophrenia. Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry, 35 (4), 1064-1067.
Mahadik ,S. P., Mukherjee, S., & Scheffer, R.S., Correnti, E. E., Mahadik, J. S. (1998). Elevated plasma lipid peroxidase at the onset of nonaffective psychosis. Biological Psychiatry, 43, 674-570.

Mahadik, S. P., Pillai, A., Joshi, S., & Foster, A. (2006). Prevention of oxidative stress-mediated neuropathology and improved clinical outcome by adjunctive use of a combination of antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids in schizophrenia. International Review of Psychiatry, 18(2), 119-131.

Nakazawa, K., Zsiros, V., Jiang, Z., Nakao, K., Kolata, S., Zhang, S., & Belforte, J. E. (2012). GABAergic interneuron origin of schizophrenia pathophysiology. Neuropharmacology, 62 (3), 1574-1583.

Ng, F., Berk, M., Dean, O., & Bush, A. I. (2008). Oxidative stress in psychiatric disorders: evidence base and therapeutic implications. International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, 11, 851-876.

Owe-Larsson, B., Ekdahl, K., Edbom, T., Ösby, U., Karlsson, H., Lundberg, C., & Lundberg, M. (2011). Increased plasma levels of thioredoxin-1 in patients with first episode psychosis and long-term schizophrenia. Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry, 35 (4), 1117-1121.

Schwartz, T. L., Sachdeva, S., Stahl, S. M. (2012). Glutamate neurocircuitry: theoretical underpinnings in schizophrenia. Frontiers in Pharmacology, 3 (November) article 195.

Sorce, S., Schiavone, S., Tucci, P. Colaianna, M., Jaquet, V., Cuomo, V., Dubois-Dauphin, M., Trabace, L., & Krause, K-H. (2010). The NADPH oxidase NOX2 controls glutamate release: a novel mechanism involved in psychosis-like ketamine responses. Journal of Neuroscience, 30(34), 11317-11325.

Yao, J. K., Reddy, R., & van Kamman, D. P. (1998). Reduced level of plasma antioxidant uric acid in schizophrenia. Psychiatry Research, 80, 29-39.

Zhang, X. Y., Chen, D. C., Xiu, M. H., Wang, F., Qi, L. Y., Sun, H. Q., Chen, S., He, S. C., Wu, G. Y., Haile, C. N., Kosten, T. A., Lu, L., & Kosten, T. R. (2009). The novel oxidative stress marker thioredoxin is increased in first-episode schizophrenic patients. Schizophrenia Research, 113, 2-3, 151-157.

86 COMMENTS

  1. I don’t mean to be off-topic, but the more I read the nonsense that comes out of the field of psychiatry, the more I feel the need to send a message out – especially, to anyone who has a child in emotional distress or an adult considering seeing a psychiatrist for the first time:

    These doctors and researchers have no idea how these drugs alter brain chemistry, and what kind of fallout may result from their use – especially their long-term use.

    In short, run like hell!

    Duane

  2. Hi Jill,
    This is an interesting take on this study but I do not think Andreasen is advising treating with more neurolpetic. She suggests that “clinicians should strive to use the lowest dose possible.” I understand you are raising a different point – that the brain loss associated with relapse might not be ameliorated with antipsychotic drugs that she has demonstrated have their own impact on brain tissue loss.
    I do think that the message about minimal dose is an important and an achievable one within the field at least for now. It would be an important harm reduction step to at least raise the appreciation that less may be more for so many people.
    I continue to think that there is so much variability – as you point out – that it is hard to make one recommendation.
    I share you concern – really shock and awe – about ketamine.
    Sandy

    • Sandra,

      This was my understanding about what Nancy Andreasan was saying with her most recent research conclusions.

      But I don’t trust her.

      IMO, anyone who comes to the conclusion that neuroleptics shrink the brain; only later to conclude that small amounts help prevent brain shrinkage (by warding off relapse) is not worthy of trust.

      IMO, she is either not very logical, tied to pharma money, or both. In any event, I stand by my warning statement to parents of children and those considering seeing a psychiatrist for the first time:

      Run!

      Duane

  3. Actually, I thought that drugs that block dopamine receptors, in the end, INCREASE dopamine production, because the dopamine isn’t doing the job it otherwise would. And this is also how they got the statistics that dopamine hyperactivity has to do with schizophrenia, because when you drug people with dopamine receptor blocking “medications” in the end you get dopamine hyperactivity, because the brain tries to compensate for the dopamine that’s not allowed to work, and makes more.

    This then would explain the following also: “A number of investigators have found elevations in free radicals and lower levels of antioxidants in persons exhibiting psychosis who were not taking medications (Arvindakshan, et al., 2003; Khan et al., 2002; Li et al., 2011; Mahadik et al., 1998; Owe-Larsson, et al., 2011; Yao et al., 1998; Zhang et al., 2009). Furthermore, the level of oxidative stress in unmedicated persons with psychosis correlates with level of negative symptoms (Arvindakshan et al., 2003; Li, Zheng, Xiu 2011) and positive symptoms (Mahadik et al., 1998; Zhang et al., 2009). ” because we aren’t talking about “unmedicated” people. We are talking about people who have been medicated, had their brain try to compensate for the blocking of dopamine, and then when they try to get off of medications which make them experience their thoughts as further and further away, and muted; they get dopamine hyperactivity, confusion, stress and then these free radicals. Which easily could come from the stress (both physical and emotional) rather than anything to do with “schizophrenia,” “psychosis,” etc..

    Also, you’re grouping together “psychosis” or “psychotic symptoms” from cocaine use, and psychosis from true emotional trauma. Those are two very different things. And it’s been shown that people with psychosis from emotional trauma do the best when NOT medicated in any way, but receive support, and are put in an environment that’s not alarmed by responses they have, and they can let go of their fear rather than be further assaulted by the indoctrinated around them.

    And it’s completely true that the whole connection with symptoms and their cause is obfuscated here. To add to that dopamine receptor blocking medications increase dopamine production, they may suppress expression of what the psychiatrist calls symptoms. Ad these are called symptoms for lack of insight into what a patients emotional experiences have been. When these “symptoms” are only magnified because of “treatment” this still makes no correlation with brain reduction and “schizophrenia” itself. It’s the increase in dopamine the dopamine receptor blocking drugs caused that correlates with “symptoms” and with further suppression of a person’s expression. And this expression has been shown to be allowed to heal when allowed in other settings not using these “medications.” This whole talk about brain reduction makes no sense. It’s trying to make out that the increase in symptoms caused by the lack of emotional help and the implimentation of medications, which caused increase in dopamine production (and has been used to pin on the “disease” rather than the medications) that this then is used to correlate with the brain reduction that statistically clearly correlates with the medications.

    You would have to allow a person who is having “symptoms” to be given the help that has been shown to be more effective than medications, and then see whether this prevents brain reduction. That, they’re not interested in, to begin with. They’d have to try a different approach than the biological model they have yet to prove is actually biological. And so they talk about brain reduction correlating with one thing, when it clearly (and scientifically) correlates with the other, which is their unproven biological model, which promotes these “medications.”

  4. Jill

    In your attempt to postulate a theory that free radicals may be a causative factor in what gets labeled “schizophrenia” aren’t you at the same time upholding the mythical “chemical imbalance” theory.

    In your fourth paragraph you state “What the antipsychotic drugs do: Antipsychotic drugs displace dopamine from its receptor sites on the post-synaptic neuron. The signaling that dopamine would otherwise induce in the post-synaptic neuron does not occur. In the presence of the antipsychotic drug, the downstream effects of excessive dopamine, psychotic symptoms, are precluded.”

    And then again in your last paragraph you state “Bottom Line: Before advising fellow physicians to increase the dosage of antipsychotic drugs to prevent brain volume reduction, it is important to show the following: first, demonstrate that symptoms, in fact, reflect the occurrence of a damaging process; second, demonstrate that any treatment intervention actually targets the damaging process itself and not just the downstream symptoms of this process.”

    The key parts of these quotes are: “…the downstream effects of excessive dopamine, psychotic symptoms…” and “…any treatment intervention actually targets the damaging process itself and not just the downstream symptoms of this process.”

    These quotes seem to be promoting the theory that excessive dopamine causes psychosis. Where is the evidence for this theory? Bob Whitaker’s “Anatomy of an Epidemic” and other critics of Biological Psychiatry have focused a great of attention dispelling this myth.

    And a final question would be: Do you accept the use of “brain disease” labels such as “schizophrenia” since you choose not to say “so-called” or place the label in quotes?

    Richard

  5. All this talk about free radicals is clearly related to stress.
    There’s quite a bit of research into how the gut is effected, when people have symptoms of “schizophrenia.” That is ALSO related to stress. Stress clearly effects the gut.
    And their might be some sort of immune reaction that causes inflammation in areas of the brain. That AGAIN is stress related.
    The body is quite capable of dealing with all of that, it’s only when a person is under stress that this stops being the case.
    Telling a person that when they are under stress, are experiencing symptoms of emotional stress; that they have an incurable illness, or that there’s something “awry” going on with them; and that you want to love them and help them by creating MORE stress in their life convincing them of all of this; this HAS BEEN proven to NOT induce healing. As well intentioned as anyone ever has been saying that they love schizophrenics, and think that they’re going through some horrible torture, and that they are going to find the physical cause and cure them; this as yet has to go anywhere much but making things worse. It ALSO causes an incredible amount of stress to tell someone that they have a physical flaw and this is causing their emotional distress, rather than actually helping them understand their emotions and teaching them how to alleviate stress, and not buy into creating it in their life.
    Complicating everything, focusing on ONE effect while ignoring how this throws everything else out of balance (free radicals, dopamine, symptoms etc.), all this does is INCREASE stress. And healing DOES take place with such methods as the Soteria Project, Healing Homes of Finland, Open Dialogue and other places which don’t see a person as being flawed, which give them a safe haven, which don’t treat them in a patronizing way, saying they know what’s going on with their “disease” when in reality it’s all just theory and “good intentions.” And those methods that heal clearly do not cause stress, they empower the person; and they trust that their own process will heal them, which it does.

    There’s also so often a whole spiritual awakening going on with “schizophrenia” that when allowed to happen, and allowed to help transcend fear, enlightens a person so that they recognize and learn to deal with stress and fear, and how to alleviate it. That’s also why they are “paranoid,” or are having thoughts that seem non-reality based. They’re learning how they caused this themselves, and you can trust that process, when you don’t interfere with it making it out to be a biological flaw and disabling their mind rather than allowing it to go through the healing process that’s been initiated. That’s spiritual. That’s something different than a society that runs on stress and fear. That’s another way that the self has of healing, rather than being made out to be a victim to physical limitations, which are only caused by the stress that one takes on investing in those limitations rather than looking beyond them towards a holistic perspective.

    • Nijinsky,

      You’ve made some good points on this post with several of your comments. Thank you.

      I think professionals would be beneficial if they helped in the area of holistic approaches – ie, gut health, but this is hardly what takes place on psychiatric wards.

      I like what you have to say about the role of fear in exacerbation of a psychotic event. It makes a lot of sense, at least to me.

      The most frustrating aspect of all of this, IMO, is that professionals are unable to separate an episode from a human being.

      In short, psychosis is an *event*, not a *person*!

      Be well,

      Duane

      • Duane, thanks for the support. It makes me feel less like one person screaming against a blank slate: “Please please… don’t try to fix me!”. It’s in itself stressful just to have to try to respond in regards schizophrenia, suggesting perhaps people would benefit to not be so alarmed that they make everything worse.

        • Nijinsky,

          You’re right. The sense of alarm makes everything worse – like fuel to a flame.

          IMO, we are all broken, but nobody needs to be “fixed” by another. An attempt to do so ends up with more brokenness – like a bull in a china shop.

          Some people have the gift of seeing the wholeness inside someone in deep suffering. And seeing this wholeness helps bring it to light. But nobody can *give* a person this wholeness, only *be with* the person during an emotional crisis – as a fellow human being.

          IMO, in order to deeply heal, the person suffering needs to feel understood, accepted and appreciated – not afraid.

          This is the opposite of the system we have in place at the present time – the status quo.

          You have some good things to say and I always enjoy your comments. Thanks for being part of MIA, Nijinsky.

          Duane

          • “You have some good things to say and I always enjoy your comments. Thanks for being part of MIA, Nijinsky.”

            Duane,

            A big ‘Ditto’ from me!

            Respectfully,

            ~Jonah

            P.S. —

            Nijinsky, IMO you deserve the MIA ‘Medal of Honor’ for how you’ve thus far replied to this blog. All of your comments have been great. I sure hope, for the blogger’s sake, that she’s *carefully* studying all that you’re saying.

            Respectfully,

            ~J.

          • It’s kinda funny–I’m actually finding myself really enjoying these biologically reductionistic blogs a lot–not because of the blog itself, of course, but because of the powerful, enlightening, and even at times greatly humorous challenges made by the commenters. Thanks, Duane, Jonah, Nijinsky, and others… you’ve really made my evening 🙂

            Paris

  6. The whole belief system in regard to the brain blaming cult is facile, and this debate about beliefs that get labeled ‘delusional’ as being beliefs that shrink the brain, is infantile.

    The people who believe this, are essentially saying that believing you are Jesus Christ, or believing that the CIA is out to get you, literally shrinks your brain. Literally damages your brain, to believe things the majority labels false beliefs.

    People who make claims that one particular thought is literally toxic to the brain, are not serious thinkers. And while I am not foolish enough to claim that people who believe in psychiatry’s stories are harming their own brains by believing in them, they are harming society.

  7. I discovered that fire is correlated with smoke.

    Therefore smoke causes the fire?

    Replace fire with brain shrinkage and smoke with relapse duration.

    Now brain shrinkage is correlated with relapse duration.

    Therefore relapses cause brain shrinkage?

    Or is it the other way around?

  8. Quote from the story: http://news.yahoo.com/tiny-electric-current-makes-others-look-better-111523142–abc-news-tech.html

    “It’s worth noting, however, that the experiment also demonstrates just how vulnerable the human brain is to seemingly trivial external forces. Two milliamps is practically nothing, yet it produced a measurable effect. So it doesn’t take much to make a difference.

    “Very small imbalances in your brain chemistry, which is related to brain electrical activities, can cause big problems,” Crib said.”

    Which is why drug based “solutions” are so incredibly dangerous. We know so little about the incredibly complex brain. I continue to call for humbleness, caution and care. “Helping” may be hurting as Nijinsky so eloquently said.

    D

  9. Jill

    Where are you?

    This is the second time in two blog postings that you have disappeared when things have become a little heated. When people question your analysis, you either do not respond to their specific comments and questions, or you just disappear for a while.

    The same thing happened in your last blog posting titled “Talk Therapy Can Cause Harm Too.” I believe Duane made serious mention of this problem at the end of your last blog, as did I.

    I am detecting a pattern of participation at MIA that has problems involving both your method of struggle and the content of your analysis.

    This pattern I am pointing out refers to your tendency to bail out of a sticky discussion and to your tendency to down play the role of trauma and environmental stress in the development of the symptoms that get labeled as “mental illness.”

    The bailing out of discussions is just plain disrespectful and avoidant. I will once again ask you “Are you not promoting a version of the “chemical Imbalance” theory above, and can you provide evidence backing it up?” And “do you believe in the “brain disease” labels such as “schizophrenia” promoted by Biological Psychiatry?”

    When environmental stressors are downplayed in the mental health field this plays right into the hands of Biological Psychiatry’s “genetic theories of original sin.”

    Nijinsky (good job!), Duane,and Anonymous have raised serious questions about your tendency to downplay environmental factors. Are you planning to speak to their points?

    In your last blog you promoted a view that downplayed the serious consequences of sexual, physical, and verbal abuse, and implied that talk therapy was more often a way to just keep people stuck in memories of their horror and stuck in a form of self pity. I am paraphrasing a combination of your blog and your FEW responses to challenges made in that discussion, but it seemed to be saying “just stop crying about it, buck up, and get on with your life.”

    Your current blog dovetails with this type of downplaying of the role of trauma and stress while staying stuck in the phony science of the current paradigm of the medical model.

    Jill, can you acknowledge some problems with your analysis? Can you acknowledge that you might be able to learn from some of the articulate and passionate writers at MIA, many of whom have experienced first hand what you write about in such a distant intellectual fashion?

    Richard

    .

    • Let us please be generous in addressing those with whom we disagree. I’m getting a very worried by the “lack of response,” callouts I’m seeing in the comments here.

      Nobody is ever obligated to respond on anyone else’s timeline on this site. Perhaps Jill needs time to reflect on what was written. Perhaps she doesn’t care. This is her business, not ours. Some bloggers and commenters don’t respond at all. We do not, as a community, hold an expectation that individuals must complete a dialogue to our satisfaction. And even in a world where such an expectation existed, does sixteen hours over a Saturday night since the last comment really constitute “disappearing”? Or could we be jumping to conclusions? Might it not be fair and appropriate to pause for a couple days before making sweeping assertions about a person’s behavior being avoidant?

      I think there’s some wonderful dialogue happening here. Important arguments are being made with attention to detail and civility. Let us not cross beyond the pale into shaming or judging someone whose statements are being strongly criticized by a choir of detractors. We are not here to do war with one another. Please state your disagreement with the ideas being offered, not your dislike of the person offering them.

      I like to bear in mind that it requires great courage and integrity to engage effectively in any conversation where I am the one with the unpopular view.

  10. I also miss _Anonymous’ post.

    I’ll just, for now, pick out ONE part of what he addressed from Jill’s comment.

    “In addressing the question of a biological base, I usually look at the adoption studies, where babies with biological pedigrees for some condition get raised in non-stressful, supportive environments. Then you count the number of now adult adoptees who manifest the phenomenon. There are specifics for most conditions in the DSM.”

    I’ll do Jill the favor to assume that “biological pedigrees” isn’t really an attempt to refer to humans as being for sale (using the term pedigree can be seen to relate to monetary value), although there’s a reference to adoptions of said “pedigrees” and how they end up making people possible targets to become consumers of pharmaceuticals for psychiatric medications. How were these people adopted? How were they taken away from their parents and then put in “non-stressful supportive” environments? Were they told that their biological parent had a “pedigree” and how did this effect their outlook on life? Did they experience their parents recieving “psychiatric treatment” that didn’t help, and is this why they were put up for adoption? Were the parents who adopted these children told that their biological parents had a “pedigree” and how much does this effect their response and/or alarm when their child starts having difficulty emotionally? How did the children fare who were put in an environment that doesn’t analyze a person as having a psychiatric illness, when they have difficulty? People who suffer war, poverty and minority status are all more prone to these “pedigrees,” does that make them gene pools for mental illness? If there actually are specifics in the DSM, then why is it that psychiatrists consistently come up with different diagnosis for the same person using these “specifics.”

  11. Since AGAIN someone else’s post has been removed (Richard D Lewis), I’ll try to bring out the gist of what was removed, and was of value.

    The following paragraph: “I know that everyone that visits this web-site is well intentioned. I think human support is very important. I wish it could cure cancer, Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, schizophrenia, and other distress producers that visit our species. Keep working at it. If you can achieve good results, I’ll be the first to cheer. I’ll be attending the conference at the Copeland Center in September. I’m hoping to be encouraged by what I see and hear.”

    To begin with, Healing Homes of Finland achieves 80 percent healing for people with “schizophrenia” without seeing it as nothing but a biological disease, but offering support. If there was some chemical procedure which caused a reduction in Cancer that achieved the same results, we’d hear about it all over the news, it would be touted as a miracle cure, and highly available. The reason being because it’s a chemical procedure, which can be sold, rather than something as intangible as simply giving a person emotional and personal support. And here Jill is acting as if that doesn’t exist, when it does. She says we have good intentions hopes to be encouraged and says she’ll cheer us if there are good results (as if these don’t already exist ) and then lists “schizophrenia” as something that human support hasn’t been shown to cure (when it has); and this one can only assume is because there hasn’t has been a “chemical process” shown to cure schizophrenia. So we can ignore 80% cure rate, and lump schizophrenia together with diseases that have been shown to have more of a clear physical cause. And act like there’s not cure for it, because Jill’s ideology hasn’t found it, so it can’t exist.

    Jill also talks about voices and tries to assimilate a theorem about them. This involves having the compassion to stick probes into animals to measure dopamine output. At the same time there are groups with voice hearers, and many people who have more than compelling stories about how they learned to deal with their voices, and this WASN’T by seeing it as a chemical reaction based on ideology about substance abuse and theories to go along with the current fashion and accepted norm of pills and chemical processes.

    What’s clear is that Jill is dismissing more than a few things that aren’t along with her ideology; and ignoring their results, and acting like the results don’t exist; and then presenting a tone of being positive (I hope to see good results, I know you are all well intentioned) while already having shown she’s not really interested in actively acknowledging the results that are already there. For some reason.

    To ANYONE who has had to deal with time and again being forced on mind numbing treatments, and or the emergence of voices that go along with such limiting of what’s acknowledged as healing and/or loss of freedom in one’s environment, that can be VERY DISTRESSFUL. To call those voices a chemical process, and concoct theories about it while ignoring methods that already have substance in healing can add to this stress and discomfort! Because it assaults a person with fixated ideas.

    And so again it’s not the voice hearer that has a disease. They are sensitive enough to actually hear what’s going on in the background, that there are fixated ideas that others aren’t even aware of. And those that have healed have learned to let go of it. The same a “schizophrenic” experiences and is assaulted with phobias they learn to let go of society doesn’t want to admit are undermining the human condition, the same a depressed person experiences sadness….. and on we go with the rest of the diagnosis which have never been proven to have any truly conclusive physical cause.

    One can only hope that Doctor Littrell starts hearing her own voices (which I think thoughts and beliefs are otherwise why would we use our physical voices to express our ideas or anyone even be reading this), rather than repeating the same ideology they clearly are touting over and over again, while dismissing the positive results of what doesn’t fit. But then hearing voices wouldn’t be seen as a biological disease.

    Voices are very different than reading, by the way. When you actually hear something, this activates your sense of planning, of movement through time and space. Actually hearing a voice can clearly animate and materialize the thoughts, can expose what might subconsciously be pulling someone’s strings, would they want to know or have experienced enough trauma in their life that they have to find out to move on. That doesn’t mean they have a biological disease, however.

    And now I’ve AGAIN spent almost an hour (and by now probably more) trying to make a statement, when what I’m saying is completely backed by statistics, science, methodology and human rights, but this most likely would not be taught in an academic setting, but be dismissed, because it doesn’t go with the fashion that goes with economic trends, isn’t mainstream enough, makes people question their preconceived values and beliefs too much, rocks the boat too much, is too logical and doesn’t conform enough. And thus I’m supposed to think there’s some kind of loss to even see what’s really going on.

    • “Jill also talks about voices and tries to assimilate a theorem about them. This involves having the compassion to stick probes into animals to measure dopamine output. At the same time there are groups with voice hearers, and many people who have more than compelling stories about how they learned to deal with their voices, and this WASN’T by seeing it as a chemical reaction based on ideology about substance abuse and theories to go along with the current fashion and accepted norm of pills and chemical processes.”

      Nijinsky,

      Are you aware of the work of MIA foreign correspondent, Rufus May?

      Please forgive me if you’re already well acquainted with his work; but, maybe you’re not; and, in any case, for anyone who may be interested…

      Here’s a link to his website, where he offers a paper titled, “Living Mindfully with Voices”:

      http://rufusmay.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=108&Itemid=9

      Maybe you have you seen his film, The Doctor Who Hears Voices.

      Here — for anyone who may be interested — is a link to it, on Youtube (in seven parts):

      http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=5B6D685236A79C41

      I wonder what Jill Littrell, Ph.D. would say about the work of Rufus May, generally? and about that film of his, in particular? Maybe she can watch it and, afterward, offer her professional opinion…

      Respectfully,

      ~Jonah

      • I’m familiar with the voice dialogue approach Jonah it’s been around for quite some time, [can’t remember the name of the person who originally developed it now], I tried it in the 90’s.
        It’s a useful approach and definitely has a place, but I personally couldn’t get on with it, I found it impossible to get my voices to talk to another person on demand, I can’t get them to answer me on demand!
        I also believe voice dialogue requires considerable skill and shouldn’t be done by just anyone after a workshop, be that professional, non-professional, or survivor. Like any psychological intervention it has the potential to be controlling, suggestive or damaging in the wrong hands.

        • Joanna Care,

          Thanks for that feedback, relating your experiences. All you say (on July 3, 2013 at 4:06 am) makes sense to me, and I’m glad you’ve shared, for there is controversy around voice dialogue. Readers who may be interested in learning more about that can find a bit about it on Rufus May’s website, via this link:

          http://rufusmay.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=67&Itemid=30

          I’m glad you posted. It gives me an opportunity to briefly say: my intent was not to promote voice dialogue, just to suggest that, clearly, human support can be healing.

          I’m sure the approach works for some people and not for others (as you say, of yourself, it didn’t work for you).

          I was only aiming to advance the discussion on this page — by introducing, into this conversation, a blogger connected to MIA, who has a lot of experience working with ‘voice hearers’ — offering human support.

          About the woman depicted in his film (“The Doctor Who Hears Voices”): If I had a loved one who was struggling with voices to such a degree that s/he seemed increasingly unable to function (and, perhaps, was seriously contemplating suicide), I might urge him/her in the direction of finding a really good/expert therapist — someone with considerable experience working with ‘voice hearers’ and possessing excellent references.

          E.g., if s/he lived in his area, I might recommend attempting to contact Rufus May.

          Likewise, I might recommend attempting to contact the MIA blogger, Jacqui Dillon, of Hearing Voices Network.

          And, note: There’s a sense that the woman (“Ruth”) in the film is struggling with voices that could possibly convince her to destroy herself. May offers her, in the midst of her apparently deepening crisis, much personal attention — of a kind that even the most excellent of therapists usually would not offer anyone — if for no other reason than that, most would not have the time to offer it.

          (Furthermore, most therapists of what I might call “average” capabilities and understanding, would be inclined to view her as ‘suicidal’ and consider sending her — as a seemingly ‘suicidal’ person, a supposed “danger to herself or others” — into a “hospital”.)

          One sees, quite often, in film depictions of intensive therapy, an *unrealistic* view, of the sort of attention a client could reasonably expect from a therapist.

          The therapist is depicted as really quite excellent and almost unbelievably attentive. IMO, Rufus May be such a therapist, in reality. But, most therapists are not.

          In fact, the seeming ‘risk’ that May takes — by keeping “Ruth” out of a ‘hospitalization’ — would be *condemned* (as ‘irresponsible’) by most therapists.

          The average therapist is extremely prone to adopting risk-avoidant behavior — when it comes to dealing with a ‘client’ who seemingly ‘might be suicidal’.

          This has a lot to do with fear-mongering in the ‘mental health’ field, around the prospect of suicide; but, also, it has to do with the fact that, for practical reasons, they can’t expect themselves to pay such close attention to any one client.

          The average therapist will defer to psychiatrists, who’ll provide drugs (and, maybe even ECT/shock-treatment) and “hospital” time.

          For so many reasons, I think the best thing for someone struggling with seemingly negative ‘voices’ would be to contact the Hearing Voices Network and begin to build a support system of people who’ve found ways to live creatively with their ‘voices’ — such as (I understand from reading your comments) you have.

          After all, regardless of what kind(s) of personal sufferings one faces, to find and develop a really good, working relationship with a therapist is *not* always possible, in the short run.

          Locating someone who’s really good in ones own vicinity — and developing a trusting relationship with him/her — can take time.

          Many people, in seeking therapy, will never find that sort of therapist; or, they just won’t click with the therapists whom they encounter (for whatever reasons).

          I, personally, have found — at various point — that finding a professional helper who can truly see beyond the label(s) that psychiatry slapped on me, decades ago, can be a daunting task.

          Most therapists and counselors treat a person with a psychiatric tag, as ‘different’ from others (who are supposedly ‘normal’).

          Therefore, I say, regardless of the type of sufferings, finding mutual support (even if it needs be long-distance) from those who’ve shared similar experiences to us and who are now discovering and exploring creative outlets, is really a great way to go…

          Therapy is not always necessary (and, sometimes it is detrimental).

          Respectfully,

          ~Jonah

          P.S. — as I’ve been referring to the work of Rufus May and to voice dialogue, here, to be fair it should be pointed out that he has promoted other methods — under the rubric of “mindfulness” — which I’d guess are considered complimentary. (I.e., dialogue with ‘voices’ may be less necessary, in his view, than careful observation.)

          From his website:

          “A psychological way of understanding voices is to see them as separated off parts of the person or their emotional experience. Some voices seem to be replaying memories while others seem more sophisticated chunks of consciousness with their own emotions and motivations. Like other parts of the personality, they are shaped by past events. I see these beings as based in separated off parts of consciousness. It appears to me that people who hear voices have an ability to connect with parts of the mind most people can only intuitively sense but not directly hear (except in their dreams).”

          “Some voice hearers see their voices as spiritual. There is a psychological approach that can embrace this possibility. The psychologist Karl Jung proposed that the unconscious was linked to the collective unconscious. Jung suggested that in certain dream states and other states of consciousness we can connect to a group consciousness, like a psychic internet. Here we can meet archetypes and experience more fully our interconnectedness. This offers us a view of the unconscious being possibly linked to a spiritual realm. Many voices I have come across and the people that hear them are convinced that their voices are spiritual in nature. I take an agnostic position on this, and therefore endeavour to respect different spiritual understandings. My intention is not to explain all voices psychologically but to help people make peace with their voices so they can get on with their lives. In the west we can get obsessed with trying to explain the origin of phenomena. However a relational approach to voice hearing does not require such explanatory knowledge. In a relational approach it is not so important whether someone’s voices are spiritual beings or psychological parts. What is important, is how we live with and relate to these experiences. I find if we are aggressive towards voices this seems to agitate them. If we find ways to listen to them in a balanced way from a place of strength and grounded awareness they seem to become calmer and more helpful. This gentle style of relating that is promoted by mindful approaches has had some success when applied to to pain management.”

          http://rufusmay.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=108&Itemid=9

          • Hi Jonah,

            I know you were not promoting voice dialogue but actually I wouldn’t mind if anyone did, it’s a perfectly valid intervention for any voice hearer to try out. As with anything it comes down to personal preference, what suits one doesn’t suit another. I’d happily include sessions on it in a conference, it doesn’t matter that it didn’t rock my boat, I still see the value of it.

            The film you refer is another matter, I would be quite critical of how the subject was presented in that [as opposed to being critical of the intervention], I am a voice hearer who has learnt to live with my voices, but my relationship is one of endurance not recovery.

    • Third time’s the charm, I guess? Thank you for making these points while — mostly — not accusing Jill of saying or believing things that you cannot know for sure. Your points about existing “cures” for “schizophrenia” are spot on and a very useful part of this conversation.

      There is still an issue with your characterization of Jill as “dismissing things that don’t fit in her ideology,” which was a similar theme in the two posts I removed. We cannot absolutely know whether an omission is out of dismissiveness, hatred, ignorance, non-chalance, or several other motivations unless we ask someone directly about it. Nothing that Jill wrote explicitly tells me that she is dismissive of other paradigms of understanding voices. Perhaps she is simply particularly focused in her thinking on the biological paradigm. To use an analogy, some people are really amazing technical dancers or musicians, but don’t improvise or perform with others. Some people are really good at fixing cars but mediocre drivers. We all have our strengths and weaknesses, some people are inclined toward a holding a holistic or relational view and others tend toward diving deeply into one narrow way of understanding things. Regardless of whether we ultimately agree with her conclusions, Jill is offering insight into details of brain science that could be interesting and relevant for all of us. It is not necessary that she change her conclusion to match what anyone else believes in order to have a civil dialogue.

      Thus, this post could be a tad more polite in expressing some curiosity and asking the question about what she believes rather than asserting that you know why Jill chooses the words she chooses. Truly, we cannot know that.

      Thanks for everyone’s contribution here. Remaining polite and supportive of each other is, in my mind, the most important way we can embody a healthy response to the problems with the psychiatric paradigm.

      • When someone says they wish that support could “cure” “schizophrenia,” includes “schizophrenia,” in a list of proven biological diseases they wish support could cure, while there’s the amount of evidence that support does heal, which is talked about on MIA abundently (80% Healing homes of Finland); and they say that they believe there’s a biological cause for all behavior and all life, I think it’s quite logical to make the assumptions or deductions I’ve made.

        This is fine when people have different focuses. But someone who likes to drive cars rather than fix them; to have them driving through a shopping mall is another thing. Focus on a biologic cause for “Schizophrenia” and not acknowledging the methods that have been proven to heal, when the topic is about healing not about the biological method,” this might actually be driving in the wrong area. And the biological focus on schizophrenia correlates with a dramatic increase, with people forced on medications taking away 20 to 25 years of their life, “medications” that suppress self initiative, creativity and self expression, that are highly addictive… and people mostly aren’t allowed to try another method. Jill herself says she doesn’t condone all of that. So why not acknowledge the healing that has occurred when it’s not seen as a biological phenomenon? Why is that relegated to “I wish it could,” and good intentions?

        Also, when what heals has been proven to, this deserves attention rather than to hear such remarks lumping schizophrenia with other diseases that have clear biological markers; and then say human support is important and that one wishes it could cure “schizophrenia” when it actually HAS been shown to; that is misrepresentation in itself. I also find it dismissive, for whatever reason. When someone says they believe that all human behavior has a biological cause, has determined that people with “schizophrenia” don’t respond to support because she didn’t experience them responding to her; and in Homes of Finland there’s 80% healing going on because people receive support, but whether support heals is still only expressed as coming from good intentions and one is told they wish it would heal…

        And I don’t believe that the people that help create the healing that does occur, I don’t believe they would judge a “schizophrenic” as “not responding to support.

        Jill said:

        “With regard to all they need is support, people who are acutely schizophrenic usually don’t pay any attention to you, however, supportive you are. They are too distracted by the internal stimuli. Often, they are very scared. When I worked on a receiving unit at the state hospital, one new admission (never had been medicated) kept hitting his head against the wall in an attempt to make the voice go away. I sat down with him and we played a board game, my attempt to distract him. He looked a little less frightened. Another guy was convinced that his brain was infected and worms were coming out of his nose. I don’t have a problem with something being horribly “gone awry” with regard to schizophrenia, although people are only guessing on what it could be. I would not make this case for depression and anxiety-which I regard as just part of being alive.”

        The people whose treatment does correlate with 80% healing, they do see schizophrenia as a valid expression of what someone has gone through in life. I think. And NOT seeing it as something “awry” which has gone wrong with the brain (a societal stigma which one could easily see leads to behaviours such as thinking there are worms in one’s brain or banging one’s head on the wall; as if the valid emotions one feels because of trauma, when not acknowledged by society, means their brain is broken); this has proven to lead to 80% healing. I think. As has been mentioned by Duane, people in a coma, although seen as practically brain dead, have shown that they do hear everything that’s going on, those who have come out of the coma. They can tell you what was going on. And again, I don’t believe the people whose treatment corresponds with 80% healing would judge a person as not responding to support. In fact, if they are dealing with internal stimuli, and so involved with these that they aren’t directly responding, this completely doesn’t mean they don’t feel the support. I would think it means they know someone cares, and this would help more than you can know judging them as not responding.

        • So why not acknowledge the healing that has occurred when it’s not seen as a biological phenomenon? Why is that relegated to “I wish it could,” and good intentions?

          Again, perhaps she hasn’t seen it herself, or doesn’t understand what this even looks like. Someone who spends a long time thinking of everything as a biological phenomena may not have the linguistic or conceptual framework to adequately hold another paradigm. This is not a failure on their part, it’s just how minds work. However, the truth remains that we do not know. Implying that she’s stubborn, or a dunce, or intentionally dismissive is certainly not the way to find out.

          I also find it dismissive, for whatever reason.

          To turn this around your own argument, you are judging that it dismissive because you didn’t experience her acknowledging you. In another context where she isn’t being ganged up on by a series of, as deleted comment said, “devastating critiques,” Jill may, for all we know, be much more amiable about discussing alternative paradigms that she’s less familiar with.

          All I’m saying, and I’m saying it strongly, is that it’s possible to disagree and offer an alternative paradigm without going extra out of our way to try to make the other person look wrong, stubborn, dismissive, hateful, stupid, ignorant, etc. The fact remains that we do not know what they think and feel beyond the words they choose to use here. As the posting guidelines state, we give everybody the benefit of the doubt, because we believe that’s what allows the most insight and good dialogue to flourish.

          • Sorry, but this wasn’t about anyone acknowledging me. It’s about the evidence in such programs as Healing Homes of Finland. I wasn’t part of that program. And I’m not really involved with anything that’s measured with such statistics. There’s no conflicts of interest going on. Healing Homes of Finland has shown that support does heal “schizophrenia.”

            I certainly wasn’t trying to make anyone look “wrong, stubborn, dismissive, hateful, stupid, ignorant, etc. ” That’s really misrepresenting my intentions. I was simply working with what I believe is logic, and not inhibiting that.

            Have a nice day. Be well.

          • OK, thanks. This is where hearing voices/thoughts comes in handy. Reading stuff where your eye can dart back and forth can garble things up a bit.

            “I didn’t say that?”
            “Well who said that?”
            “Who are they referring to?”

  12. When a person has received a physical wound. Say a cut. They get a scab. That’s a natural thing, although this isn’t normal. At least not too normal. You don’t see everyone walking around with scabs and bruises. That would catch your attention, if they do have these. One could decide there’s a biological cause for this, investigate exactly what goes on with these scabs. How they involve unusual biological processes, what chemistry is involved. How a this is different from a normal person that has no scabs or bruises. This however does nothing to remove a person from the environment, or behavior towards themselves that caused the scabs and bruises.

    There’s all this type of focus looking for a physical cause for “schizophrenia,” and yet the people that have recovered so often have valid stories to tell of what was going on emotionally. And being allowed to explore what’s going on there achieves results. And how that achieved results. I also have these “stories” myself, and have had all the symptoms. In fact, I’ve actually been able to talk people out of psychotic episodes recently; because I’ve been through them, and know how to relate. Healing Homes of Finland gets amazing results that are basically quite unheard of. Why don’t we hear about this in the media, rather than umpteen stories of people losing it, needing more treatments; we here that such treatment needs to be more available, and this all mostly being about “biological” treatments which are more expensive and which don’t even correlate statistically with healing. They correlate with more need for “treatment,” and so basically you mostly hear about what hasn’t been shown to help, and thus we are supposed to be more informed and alarmed in order to believe it will help, and all the evidence that it isn’t helping is stuffed in the it’s-a-biological-disease-and-needs treatment, box. Who is making money out of selling these “treatments”? The same, scabs could be made out to be a biological disease. Or being tired. Or being overworked. Or being sad. Or talking back to accepted authorities. Or having different ideas than the norm…. The only difference is that with “mental illnesses,” there isn’t even the biological marker that goes on with scabs. You can biologically determine that someone has a scab. You can’t do this for schizophrenia. You can however allow them to be put in an environment where their emotional wounds have been shown to heal (such as healing homes of Finland).

    If there are all these studies in finding out what is “wrong” with someone (biologically and mentally) that has “Schizophrenia,” why aren’t there studies to find out what’s RIGHT with the ones that have recovered. Finding out that someone has too many free radicals etc. when they are having difficulty, doesn’t mean you can dismiss that there are methods not focusing on a biological cause that attend to the person, and thus empower their body to heal what’s going on, the same that a scab forms a protective shield for healing. Allowing someone to explore what’s going on allows such a protective shield, I think. Finding what’s wrong doesn’t mean not seeing what’s right, and not seeing what actually heals.

    This data already exists. Bruce Lipton talks about these things; as do many others. There’s enough data that shows what stress does. I don’t even think you would have to measure whether someone in “psychosis,” has too many free radicals, and then see whether that’s different after they received support and come have out of it. I think the evidence of what stress does is already there, and it speaks for itself to begin with. As does the healing support has shown to illicit in “schizophrenics.” But you could do such experiments rather than just focusing on what’s wrong and deciding you need to interfere with natural processes to fix it!

    And basically, I find that people who are supposedly “schizophrenic,” have another gear. They have let go of inhibitions that prevented them from going one step further in their thinking. There might be a lot of what seems like utter nonsense going on, but in the midst of all of this seeming clutter there are the links to the new realizations that are trying to emerge. Whether this is symbolic or whether it’s so elusive and quiet that it evades the understanding of most people, or lacks the environment to allow it to come out without being dissected; it’s there. You can find that out by actually talking to schizophrenics. And learning to understand. You learn to understand yourself better, and human nature.

    But you have to suspend your judgments about what you believe is sane and what isn’t. Or even what a disease is.

    • Nijinsky,

      This comment of yours (on July 3, 2013 at 10:58 am) is my favorite comment on this entire page, thus far. It’s such a succinct, complete — and really quite beautiful — essay.

      IMO it certainly deserves its own page.

      Your writings on the subject of “schizophrenia” will, I hope, someday be edited and organized, to be published in book form.

      Meanwhile, for MIA readers who, perhaps, never read it, the following link is to another really amazing, stand-alone essay, posted by Nijinsky, back in January:

      https://www.madinamerica.com/2013/01/what-happened-after-a-nation-methodically-murdered-its-schizophrenics-rethinking-mental-illness-and-its-heritability/#comment-19557

      One thing that’s really interesting to me, about this comment of yours, above, is how it ends.

      You advise, at last, “suspend your judgments about what you believe is sane and what isn’t. Or even what a disease is.”

      That’s great advice, I feel, especially to offer people who think that “schizophrenia” is a disease.

      Perhaps, the blogger has received such advice, at some time, previously? For, it seems to me that she has done her best to suspend her judgment about what she believes a disease is; that’s why she says, in her latest comment, “Even when looking at cancer cells, it’s pretty hard to establish where the line is and deciding when to call it” and why she says that this word “disease” is,

      “…a term that connotes without denoting: who knows what it means. I suggest we, as a class, just talk in terms of processes we can describe. Forget the label.”

      Problematically, she nonetheless clings to the “schizophrenia” label, as though it points to a single set of phenomena — and then goes on to describe only certain, highly specific biological processes that she supposes may be responsible for ‘hearing voices’ (based on *much* conjecture); she ultimately concludes, “human support is very important. I wish it could cure cancer, Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, schizophrenia, and other distress producers that visit our species…”

      So, instead of classifying the collective phenomena that are ostensibly represented by this “schizophrenia” label as reflecting a disease, she’d classify that collection of phenomena as a “distress producer that visits our species” akin to “cancer, Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s.”

      So, it seems to me that, her insisting disease is “a term that connotes without denoting” and her recommending to her students that, they should “just talk in terms of processes we can describe,” winds up being little more or less than a lead-in to speculations about ‘free radicals’ and potential future breakthroughs in psychopharmacology.

      [Note prominently: In her comment to Dr. Steingard, above (on June 29, 2013 at 7:15 pm), she (Jill Littrell, Ph.D.) wrote: “I’m encouraged by the studies with N-acetyl-cysteine. In this months JAMA Psychiatry, there is an article on nitroprusside for reducing symptoms of shizophrenia. Perhaps these interventions are less toxic? I keep hoping.” Unfortunately, I had somehow failed to notice that one comment, when, above, I had called the blogger’s approach “positively pharma-skeptical…”]

      Really, now, after a few days’ time — and having gained a better overview, of her blog and comments, as a whole –, I am so glad to have read those last comments by _Anonymous and Richard D. Lewis… and glad to have copied and saved them before they were removed.

      Both commenters made a number of great points, at last.

      Richard made one very important point that I’m now finding especially unforgettable.

      He wrote (on July 2, 2013 at 1:58 am),

      “…Jill says “Drug companies comply with the law most of the time”

      Let’s not minimize Biological Psychiatry’s unholy alliance with Big Pharma. Would “most of the time” be perhaps 75% or maybe even 90%. Ten percent broken laws or related examples of scientific deception can do, and certainly has done, enormous damage to millions of people…”

      Here, next, I share just two very brief (and really straightforward, non-controversial) points, that were offered by _Anonymous (on June 30, 2013 at 11:26 pm):

      “1. Alzheimer’s, degenerative process, predictable course in all diagnosed, identifiable biomarkers after death, plaques. No one has ever come back from it.”

      “2. Huntington’s, degenerative process, predictable course in all cases, actual objective genetic tests, actual objective biomarkers, atrophy etc. No one has ever come back from it.”

      I would suggest that whatever the blogger is currently inclined to describe as phenomenal effects of “schizophrenia” are going to seem comparable phenomena to those two particular phenomena (a.k.a., two quite deadly, degenerative neurological diseases) mainly because ‘it’ (“schizophrenia”) is so easily perceived as the iatrogenic effects of that traditional, coercive psychiatric ‘medical care,’ which has come to be heaped on millions who’ve been deemed “schizophrenic”.

      About her saying, “I think human support is very important” and her adding “Keep working at it. If you can achieve good results, I’ll be the first to cheer,” I am now doing my best to take those lines at face value.

      I think probably she says that only because she lacks experience with people who’ve fully overcome a “schizophrenia” so-called “diagnosis”.

      Along these lines, I highly encourage her to read your comments and take them to heart…

      Respectfully,

      ~Jonah

      • Jonah, thank you for sharing the beautiful film about the girl hearing voices. http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=5B6D685236A79C41 I think that also speaks to the truth that we are all one. Even the bully that she identified the voice as being in the end, it became her friend. Even though he had apologized to her before the whole catharsis, I think that she took it one step further, and made him part of her; so that she could be there more for others, be more resilient, have a different view, more perspective. I’m not really the one to be interpreting what this voice represented for her, but that’s how it inspires me. A Course in Miracles says that our enemies are our saviors; they are the ones that show us we really can make a choice in how we respond. We can let go of attack thoughts and chose something that’s creative instead. Something that comes from love. And forgive comes from two words. For and Give. When you let go of attack thoughts (in this case learning to understand where the fear came from), you’re not investing in loss; and there’s no depletion of what you give from there. It’s really that simple, I think.

        When someone is given directions verbally, this is easier to remember than trying to read them. This is because we process in time better orally. A process that takes time is better understood. So maybe hearing “voices” can facilitate how we navigate through life. Bring to our attention things we might have never seen, as cathartic as they may seem to become, they can change our life.

        And thanks so much for reminding me of this little song I put to thought in January. I really needed to be reminded of that, it being prelude to everything I’ve been through since, so I can look back and see that it really was just life. Enlightenment.