Monday, January 24, 2022

Comments by t4nk

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  • In my opinion, there are several difficulties in overcoming the medical model of schizophrenia and psychotic disorders. First, antipsychotic medication is effective in arresting psychosis which gives the impression that psychotic disorders are analogous to genuinely physiological diseases like diabetes treated with insulin is effective in controlling its symptoms. Of course that’s only because it literally tranquilizes the mind of the psychotic patient rather than correcting some deficiency in the brain.

    Second, parents of schizophrenics are likely to resist (again) explanations that inculpate their parenting in their children’s developing schizophrenia. NAMI itself was, of course, founded by two mothers of schizophrenics, Harriet Shelter and Beverly Young. The irony and tragedy in their efforts to overcome psychological explanations for schizophrenia in favor of physiological explanations is that it prevented genuinely effective treatment from being delivered to their own children and to future schizophrenics through psychotherapy.

    Third and possibly most importantly, schizophrenics, like all who have been reared in dysfunctional families, usually do not have insight into the dysfunction of their families.

    However, the Achilles’ heel in psychiatry is that the symptoms of psychosis in psychotic disorders are metaphorical expressions of past trauma. Most anyone would admit that this precludes the possibility that psychotic disorders are physiological and that their symptoms are random errors in perception. This should be the point that’s emphasized in reaching the truth of schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders along with the success in treating patients that’s been achieved by psychotherapists who understand them.

  • What a timely article that you’ve authored since I too have been considering this very subject lately. I was diagnosed with an “unspecified psychotic disorder” three years ago and later with paranoid schizophrenia. The experience was absolutely devastating in all aspects of my life, and I puzzled over exactly why, suddenly at 33 years old, I would develop such a horrible disorder. It seemed unlikely to me that this could be a physiological mental disorder.

    It wasn’t until I became acquainted with the work of Bertram Karon that I discovered that hallucinations and delusions have metaphorical content. When I reflected on this, I realized that my hallucinations and delusions were, without exception, expressions of certain KINDS of past trauma that originated in my family, particularly with respect to my mother’s treatment of me.

    Both Fromm-Reichmann and Bateson were mostly correct, though the latter, I’ve recently learned, really wasn’t trying to explain the mechanism behind schizophrenia at all but rather the ecological relationships in the patterns of communication in the context of schizophrenia. Bateson was, after all, an anthropologist and not a psychiatrist.

    The double bind practiced verbally isn’t quite the mechanism behind schizophrenia, but it’s definitely a psychologically dysfunctional adaptation that relates to it. Instead, a parent who practices the double bind verbally also practices other behaviors, both verbal and nonverbal, that ultimately prevent their children from achieving psychological needs like love and affection. This is ultimately the trauma of the double bind and other behaviors like it that it implies which predisposes one to schizophrenia, and this trauma occurs not just in childhood but also during infancy and onward since the parents, particularly the mother, were psychologically dysfunctional at that point as well.

    This trauma is terrifying because, for the schizophrenic, it incited in the past fear of death. When we’re very young, we instinctively seek out love and affection from our parents, particularly our mother. If a mother is ultimately rejecting (though unwittingly), as according to Fromm-Reichmann and her theory of the schizophrenogenic mother, then this, for the child, implies no sense of safety from danger. And without that safety from danger, the child, from his perspective, is in danger of death.

    To understand schizophrenia well, one has to understand Karon’s interpretation: schizophrenia is caused by terror brought about by that trauma. Schizophrenia is completely involuntary, and it shouldn’t be characterized as a means of escaping intolerable circumstances. What’s really happening is that perceptions that are equivalent in meaning, expressed metaphorically, to the original trauma and traumas related to it are intruding into the conscious mind to warn it of danger.

    I’m writing an article about this myself which, while incomplete at the moment, should give some further insight into this and exactly how hallucinations and delusions develop. If anyone doubts that hallucinations and delusions are metaphorical expressions of past trauma, please read the accounts of some of my own hallucinations and delusions at the end of the article: