The Straight Dope

Go Back   Straight Dope Message Board > Main > In My Humble Opinion (IMHO)

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 03-27-2012, 08:32 AM
Isamu Isamu is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Do schizophrenics 'know' that they are not thinking straight?

I'm not sure if this has a definitive answer or not, so I'm asking in this forum about people's experiences.

There's someone I know professionally who has recently been diagnosed as schizophrenic but, according to his wife, he won't take any medication for it. I'm not sure if it's a smart move but wonder if I can talk any sense into him? I figure if he knows that something is a little wrong then it might be possible to get him on the medicine.
Reply With Quote
Advertisements  
  #2  
Old 03-27-2012, 08:46 AM
WhyNot WhyNot is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Sweet Home Chicago
Posts: 30,892
Depends on the person, but largely no.

The problem with schizophrenia, like most mental illnesses, is that the part of the body responsible for "knowing" and for deciding what to do about it is the part of the body that's broken. It's like expecting someone with a badly broken leg to walk it off. If he could walk, the leg wouldn't be broken!

IME, most schizophrenics may notice a mood shift, and if they've had it for a long time before, they can identify the voices or visions as not being heard by other people, but they don't notice the disorganized thinking. They simply think the people around them are acting weird, or thinking stupidly. And, of course, not every schizophrenic has the same symptoms, so there may be no mood shift or hallucinations to notice.

Please note, most schizophrenics are NOT violent, contrary to popular opinion, so it's not like you need to be afraid of the guy (unless he has a personal history of violence), but no, you shouldn't rely on him to notice that his brain isn't working right. As for whether or not you talking to him will help him notice it... *sigh* I don't know.

I'm playing the same game right now with a patient of mine who has a diagnosis and has been pretty functional these last four months, but I see him slipping. Right now, he's blaming his doctor and his social worker, and I'm "the only one he trusts", so I'm trying to keep him open to the idea that maybe, just maybe, his doctor isn't conspiring with his social worker against him, but it's hard. I'm afraid I may not be able to help until it's reached hospitalization level. And I'm supposed to be trained in this stuff. I wouldn't expect a layperson to handle it. If you want to give it a gentle shot, you probably won't do any harm, but please don't be too disappointed if it doesn't help.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 03-27-2012, 08:53 AM
Spice Weasel Spice Weasel is offline
Crankin' it up a notch. BAM!
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Gatorville
Posts: 11,748
What WhyNot said. One of the reasons schizophrenia can be so hard to treat is that many schizophrenics don't recognize that they are mentally ill. I have an uncle who is schizophrenic. He has been resisting medication for about four decades. ''I know people say I'm mentally ill, but I don't think I'm mentally ill. I just want people to stop putting dead bodies in my cigarettes, you know?'' FWIW, there is research indicating that the earlier a person receives treatment, the more likely they are to comply to treatment.

Last edited by Spice Weasel; 03-27-2012 at 08:54 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 03-27-2012, 09:00 AM
Isamu Isamu is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Thanks WhyNot (and Olive, on edit)
He does have a history of violence (but never against me) and he does think that I'm conspiring against him (according to his blog). Maybe I'll keep my distance for a bit and let the professionals handle it. Thanks again.

Last edited by Isamu; 03-27-2012 at 09:00 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 03-27-2012, 09:08 AM
grude grude is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by olivesmarch4th View Post
What WhyNot said. One of the reasons schizophrenia can be so hard to treat is that many schizophrenics don't recognize that they are mentally ill. I have an uncle who is schizophrenic. He has been resisting medication for about four decades. ''I know people say I'm mentally ill, but I don't think I'm mentally ill. I just want people to stop putting dead bodies in my cigarettes, you know?'' FWIW, there is research indicating that the earlier a person receives treatment, the more likely they are to comply to treatment.
I knew a guy, casual friend I guess you could say as we hung out in the same group, who was diagnosed as schizophrenic and he was well aware that his auditory and visual hallucinations were not "real" BUT he did think they often had good insights and I had to agree with him sometimes "your dad fucking hates you!" was right pretty much.
The problem was a lot of his internal er chatter and intuitions(that everyone has) would manifest as voices, so say you see someone is just acting strange so you say nah something if off about this guy, well he would hear a voice tell him that.

It depends on the person but for a lot of people anti-psychotic drugs turn you into a non-functioning zombie, so I can understand why some schizophrenics want to learn to control and accept their illness rather than becoming a 25 year old dementia patient.


*That dude was very strange BTW, for one thing he was obsessed with white power groups and white supremacy but his on again off again girlfriend he did nothing but talk about was a Somalian immigrant.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 03-27-2012, 09:13 AM
Eve Eve is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Yep, I have a friend who is a classic paranoid schizophrenic--he knows the government is trying to coerce him into a gay sex ring and that he is the chess champion of the world, and that he and various celebrities have mind melds. And of course, I cannot reason him out of this--he gets rather defensive when I try.

He refuses to see doctors, as he had a bad experience years ago being committed to a snake pit asylum and drugged up, so I really cannot fault him there. Also, the doctors are all in on the gay sex ring.

It's very sad--he is no danger to anyone but himself, and I just do not see a happy ending for him at all, poor bastard.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 03-27-2012, 09:34 AM
Nava Nava is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Those who do realize it are a lot more likely to go to the doctor when needed. I've had conversations and read interviews with some who do notice and who mentioned that, once they understood the illness, those times when they notice they're getting off their meds are what terrifies them most. What if the docs can't find whetever is going to work this time? What if there is ever a "this time" when nothing works?

But many mentally-ill people begin by not understanding that they're mentally ill, not only schizophrenics. The negative reactions of many people when hearing that someone has a mental-illness diagnosis are not better when the person diagnosed is themselves.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 03-27-2012, 09:52 AM
Ferret Herder Ferret Herder is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nava View Post
Those who do realize it are a lot more likely to go to the doctor when needed. I've had conversations and read interviews with some who do notice and who mentioned that, once they understood the illness, those times when they notice they're getting off their meds are what terrifies them most. What if the docs can't find whetever is going to work this time? What if there is ever a "this time" when nothing works?
Yup, I have a friend who had a severely delusional mother, to the point that she was raised by her grandparents instead. Fast-forward to my friend in her early 30s, when she starts suspecting that people are watching her and plotting against her, even her own husband. Her terror becomes so great that she got in her car and fled halfway across the state, before finally stopping and out of desperation calling her husband, trying to explain that everyone was conspiring against her, even him, but it just didn't make any sense to her and she trusted he wouldn't hurt her. I'm sure that her experiences with her mother - and probably some lingering worry over whether it was genetic - probably helped her with experience of how someone who's delusional really acts.

Turns out that severely manic cycles in bipolar disorder can have delusional components associated with them. These days (years after her "breakdown") she's on medication and seeing a therapist, continuing to work as a (very beloved) teacher, and her mood is much more stable. She and her close friends are good at seeing when she might be getting off-track - we had a talk with her a year ago when it seemed like she was taking on way too many projects, and I had a number of phone conversations with her during depressive swings - and she's pretty proactive about seeking out adjustments in meds or other therapies at those times. But she did have a lot of "is this going to be my whole life?" feelings during her down times.

Last edited by Ferret Herder; 03-27-2012 at 09:54 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 03-27-2012, 10:02 AM
Ludovic Ludovic is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: America's Wing
Posts: 23,337
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eve View Post
I just do not see a happy ending for him at all, poor bastard.
And if there is, that just proves the masseurs are in on the sex ring, too. [insert handbasket smiley]
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 03-27-2012, 10:17 AM
The Great Sun Jester The Great Sun Jester is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ferret Herder View Post
Turns out that severely manic cycles in bipolar disorder can have delusional components associated with them.
A-frikkin-men to this. Paranoia with paranoia sauce, garnished with some fresh paranoia all served with a side of paranoia. Plus, walls and floors ripple like water and the furniture never seems to be where I remember it.

Ramble: This has been my particular flavor for as long as I can remember, but I never really understood I was a nutcase until 5 or 6 years ago. I can remember times when I was out of control, and I can remember how I felt, at the time, like I was acting appropriately for a given situation. Looking back objectively, it is clear my judgment was impaired. These days I have some hard and fast rules of behavior that I will not break no matter how I feel at the moment. Seems to help. The way I see it, everyone pretty much acts in a way they believe to be appropriate. Problem is, if your perception is impaired your behavior will be off. It's sort of like how drunk people will sometimes behave poorly, but at least they have the benefit of knowing they've been drinking. When your own brain chemistry decides to change, it does so without letting you know what's going on.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 03-27-2012, 10:17 AM
lavenderviolet lavenderviolet is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
I've worked on mental health inpatient units. It's true that the majority of patients don't recognize that they are mentally ill ( "lack of insight" is a classic part of many mental illnesses). In those cases, you shouldn't even bother trying to "talk them into" believing they are mentally ill - it won't work and will likely just make them angry.
Some of them do have enough insight to realize that they are not doing well and even will show up to the hospital voluntarily for treatment because (for example) the voices are scaring them and making it hard to concentrate. They often will have other explanations besides mental illness for why the voices are happening (I've heard patients say that the voices are caused by the Devil for example). Many will voluntarily agree to take medications when the illness is at its worst. If your friend trusts you enough to talk about things like hearing voices or feeling depressed, I wouldn't try saying "This is because of your mental illness" but I would try saying "let's call your psychiatrist or let's go to the hospital and see if they can help you feel better".

However, even in those cases, many of them have a hard time accepting that they need to be on medication for a lifetime to be functional and will often end up going off the medication pretty quickly once they feel better. That's why a lot of severely mentally ill people keep going in and out of the hospital - it's a cycle where something really bad happens to bring them into the hospital, they start medication and begin to do better, they leave the hospital, go off their meds because they feel better, and end up back in the hospital. Over and over again.

In your friend's case, I would encourage you and his wife to watch him closely for any signs of dangerous behavior or thoughts. In the majority of places (laws vary by state, but this is pretty standard) if a mentally ill person is doing anything suicidal/homicidal or that shows that he is incapable of caring for himself to the extent that he is at risk of serious harm, you can call the police to have him brought to the hospital for a psychiatric evaluation. It's always better if you can convince the patient to come voluntarily, but if he is not willing to go voluntarily, and you have genuine concerns for his safety or someone else's safety, don't be afraid to call for help.
Most mentally ill people are not dangerous at all, but there are cases where (for example) someone who is very paranoid may be confused enough to hurt someone innocent because they perceive the person as being involved in a conspiracy to harm them, or when a very ill person might talk about suicide even though when they're thinking clearly they may not be suicidal at all.
Schizophrenia patients who have involved, concern family members to help with things like reminding them to take their meds often do A LOT better than the ones who don't have good support, so don't despair.

Last edited by lavenderviolet; 03-27-2012 at 10:21 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 03-27-2012, 10:28 AM
Eve Eve is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ludovic View Post
And if there is, that just proves the masseurs are in on the sex ring, too. [insert handbasket smiley]
To give him credit, he would laugh at that--for all his problems, he is smart and has a sense of humor. Which makes it all the more frustrating!
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 03-27-2012, 11:52 AM
FlyByNight512 FlyByNight512 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Ever heard the phrase 'you can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into'? It could pretty well be the definition of mental illness. IMHO the best you can do for a friend who's dealing with an illness that they don't want to acknowledge is to continue as normal a friendship as possible. You can't change his mind for him, he has to be the one to decide that the illness sucks and he wants to try to get rid of it.

The only data point I have to add to the conversation is a friend who's dealing with a mixture of Bipolar and Schizophrenia - as others have mentioned, they can overlap quite a bit. She's very much ON her meds and has worked through a lot of therapy. At this point she's pretty good at managing her own symptoms and is confident about asking trusted friends for reality checks when she needs them. You wouldn't know she was dealing with a mental illness if she didn't tell you. Like most schizophrenics, she's not violent at all, even when she's in full-fledged paranoia mode. This is probably the best-case outcome for Schizophrenia.

I hope things turn out well for your friend.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 03-27-2012, 12:37 PM
purplehorseshoe purplehorseshoe is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inigo Montoya View Post
A-frikkin-men to this. Paranoia with paranoia sauce, garnished with some fresh paranoia all served with a side of paranoia. Plus, walls and floors ripple like water and the furniture never seems to be where I remember it.

Ramble: This has been my particular flavor for as long as I can remember, but I never really understood I was a nutcase until 5 or 6 years ago. I can remember times when I was out of control, and I can remember how I felt, at the time, like I was acting appropriately for a given situation. Looking back objectively, it is clear my judgment was impaired. These days I have some hard and fast rules of behavior that I will not break no matter how I feel at the moment. Seems to help. The way I see it, everyone pretty much acts in a way they believe to be appropriate. Problem is, if your perception is impaired your behavior will be off. It's sort of like how drunk people will sometimes behave poorly, but at least they have the benefit of knowing they've been drinking. When your own brain chemistry decides to change, it does so without letting you know what's going on.
Would you be willing to share with us what some of those hard-and-fast rules are?
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 03-27-2012, 01:10 PM
The Great Sun Jester The Great Sun Jester is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Quote:
Originally Posted by purplehorseshoe View Post
Would you be willing to share with us what some of those hard-and-fast rules are?
Enjoy:
1) Your acquaintances and family members are not discussing plots behind your back, and are not toying with you for their own amusement. (This one is the most difficult because it demands a denial of a gut feeling, something you simply know to be true)

2) Rarely laugh for more than one breath, never for longer than anyone else in the room. If you can't help yourself, remove yourself from the situation. (A funny situation readily changes into me being the funny thing, the life of the party--I am not. Too much laughter will escalate into mania that will last for several days)

3) Do not yell at anyone. Do not say anything unconstructive. Never express anger. (I slip too quickly into rage if I allow myself to become angry. Outward expression of the emotion is suppressed until I can reason through the event)

4) Do not dwell on feelings of inadequacy, fight them with facts. (This is a difficult mental exercise that is performed for 2 or 3 days, it absolutely slaughters a depression that will otherwise last for weeks without breeding mania)

5) Resist praise, say "thank you" to shut someone up if you have to but do not encourage praise. Stay humble. (This works two ways, it nips grandiose feelings in the bud, and people respond better in the long run to competence & humility than to confidence.)


It's kind of a trade off. If I force myself to stay on an even keel, people will sometimes think I'm dumb or upset. But if I don't follow the rules I become who I really am, and I don't like him.

Last edited by The Great Sun Jester; 03-27-2012 at 01:11 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 03-27-2012, 02:02 PM
Necros Necros is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Golden, CO USA
Posts: 2,403
I would add to Inigo's list: Don't make any major life decisions without running them by someone else first.

It definitely is an interesting sensation to not be able to trust yourself. I mean, if nothing else, you should always be able to believe you have your own best interest at heart, but when going through these changes (bipolar here, with a recent episode of acute mania), everything you are doing makes sense, even if it is absolutely bonkers.

I was aware enough to determine something was wrong, and I needed to seek help and get some med management, but loss of executive function is a major component to a lot of mental issues. You sort of turn over control to the amygdala. So, having a robust support system is really important, because you have to rely on others to tell you if what you are doing makes sense or not.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 03-27-2012, 02:09 PM
Sampiro Sampiro is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
I used to be live-in staff at an apartment complex for schizophrenics and I think the answer is "depends on the individual schizophrenic". Some do, some don't, and some know when they're having delusional thinking when they are transitioning into a psychotic episode but once in the episode itself it's their reality, then when they're out of it again due to medication/hospitalization/time they know they were wrong but were honestly convinced of it at the time.

One resident who heard voices when sick told me that even on medication he still heard the voices when he was medicated, but when he was medicated he knew they weren't real. He told me that he was hearing them even as he was talking to me, "I really do, right now, know that they aren't real... but that doesn't make them sound any less real than the voices on that TV set". He said that he would also talk to them sometimes even when he did know they weren't for the same reason non-delusional people will sometimes talk to a TV set or themselves, BUT he tried not to because he believed that the more you did the more you slipped.

Some had a sense of humor about their episodes when said episode wasn't harmful to anybody. One of them told me "I raised Elvis from the dead the other night!" and I asked him, being polite, "Did you really?" His response: "Probably not come to think of it, but I sure as hell got everyone else who could hear me up."
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 03-27-2012, 03:08 PM
tdn tdn is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Having never been schizophrenic (as far as I know), I can't really comment on this.

But here's something to think about. When you're depressed -- and I'm not talking about a clinical diagnosis, just a case of the blues -- do you know you're depressed? Or do you feel like life sucks, life always has sucked, and life will continue to suck until quarter past infinity? For me it's the latter, and everyone I've talked to about it can relate. On the flip side, when you're happy, doesn't depression seem like a really irrational and stupid choice that you can easily avoid?

The thing is, even for mentally healthy people, we tend to live inside of our emotions and rationalize them as the normal state of being. I'm sure that for someone who is mentally ill, this is triply true.
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 03-27-2012, 03:52 PM
purplehorseshoe purplehorseshoe is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inigo Montoya View Post
Enjoy:
... {food for thought snipped}...
Thank you. That was very insightful, and I appreciate you sharing.
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 03-27-2012, 05:05 PM
ioioio ioioio is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
A former acquaintance of mine had a schizophrenic son in his mid-20s. He was going through a delusional phase because his meds had quit working. Friend told me that her son loved to go to the Y to swim because he believed he was a dolphin. I asked if he really believed this, and she said it appeared he did. I found this absolutely astonishing. How can a person believe he’s a dolphin? If it’s truly possible, maybe I just think I’m a human being.

Very very strange.
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 03-27-2012, 05:16 PM
living_in_hell living_in_hell is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Can we start with 2 truths:
1. There is quite a broad spectrum of symptom manifestation within this diagnosis.
2. Like dreams, it is one of the few things that is "unexplained" in the psychology. Sure, many people can theorize and debate most things (eg addiction, personality, etc) but really, schizophrenia is one of the most mysterious phenomena out there.
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 03-27-2012, 05:59 PM
The Great Sun Jester The Great Sun Jester is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Quote:
Originally Posted by living_in_hell View Post
Can we start with 2 truths:
Interesting choice of words for thread dealing with delusions. There is no such thing as the truth!

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go laminate the cat. We're of to the dolphin races this evening and Ms. Bigglesworth doesn't like getting splashed with thumbtacks.
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 03-27-2012, 06:35 PM
Lasciel Lasciel is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inigo Montoya View Post

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go laminate the cat. We're of to the dolphin races this evening and Ms. Bigglesworth doesn't like getting splashed with thumbtacks.
I would compliment you on the joke, but reading the rules means I'll limit myself to a

Last edited by Lasciel; 03-27-2012 at 06:35 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 03-27-2012, 08:34 PM
Isamu Isamu is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Thanks all for sharing. Hopefully I understand a little bit more now.
Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old 03-27-2012, 09:15 PM
monstro monstro is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
By definition, people who are delusional do not believe they are delusional.

But schizophrenia is much more than delusions. A person can have hallucinations and know they aren't real. They can have problems speaking and thinking coherently and realize it. People with alogia aren't just being taciturn just for the sake of it. They often experience a block that prevents intelligent language. Since schizophrenia also impairs affect and expression, they may not be able to show the frustration.

I've read accounts of schizophrenics describing their prodromal states, and they all have the same thing in common: an awareness that something is not right about themselves, and the concomitant fear they experience. I recall one person's account specifically. She/he said they didn't want to talk because they knew whatever they said was going to come out wrong. We all know about people have an irrational fear of speaking. But schizophrenia can really make what you say come out wrong (word salad, verbigeration, rambling/tangential). So being afraid in this case isn't without merit.

One person said they knew that whenever their thoughts start to repeat, that's when they know they are about to have another "episode". This concerns me a little because my thoughts not only repeat frequently, but they are starting to "discuss amongst themselves" in way that completely engrosses me and that I cannot describe to my doctor. The staring thing that crazy people sometimes do...I find myself doing it too.

I imagine many schizophrenics walk around with chatter in their brains and also get lost in the fog sometimes, but they are more functional because they lack the delusional thinking.
Reply With Quote
  #26  
Old 03-27-2012, 09:31 PM
FlyByNight512 FlyByNight512 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Not being schizophrenic myself, I have no idea how accurate this video might be (and given how widely varied schizophrenia and associated symptoms can be, 'accurate' might not even be possible), but I found it interesting: Simulated Schizophrenia

I'd love to hear the opinions of people who have more firsthand experience. Is this anything approaching what someone might think/hear/see, or would it just give people the wrong idea?
Reply With Quote
  #27  
Old 03-27-2012, 09:57 PM
living_in_hell living_in_hell is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inigo Montoya View Post
Interesting choice of words for thread dealing with delusions. There is no such thing as the truth!

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go laminate the cat. We're of to the dolphin races this evening and Ms. Bigglesworth doesn't like getting splashed with thumbtacks.
Here's a better truth: a previous version of the DSM identified "inadequate personality disorder."
Reply With Quote
  #28  
Old 03-27-2012, 10:01 PM
living_in_hell living_in_hell is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by monstro View Post
By definition, people who are delusional do not believe they are delusional.

But schizophrenia is much more than delusions. A person can have hallucinations and know they aren't real. They can have problems speaking and thinking coherently and realize it. People with alogia aren't just being taciturn just for the sake of it. They often experience a block that prevents intelligent language. Since schizophrenia also impairs affect and expression, they may not be able to show the frustration.

I've read accounts of schizophrenics describing their prodromal states, and they all have the same thing in common: an awareness that something is not right about themselves, and the concomitant fear they experience. I recall one person's account specifically. She/he said they didn't want to talk because they knew whatever they said was going to come out wrong. We all know about people have an irrational fear of speaking. But schizophrenia can really make what you say come out wrong (word salad, verbigeration, rambling/tangential). So being afraid in this case isn't without merit.

One person said they knew that whenever their thoughts start to repeat, that's when they know they are about to have another "episode". This concerns me a little because my thoughts not only repeat frequently, but they are starting to "discuss amongst themselves" in way that completely engrosses me and that I cannot describe to my doctor. The staring thing that crazy people sometimes do...I find myself doing it too.

I imagine many schizophrenics walk around with chatter in their brains and also get lost in the fog sometimes, but they are more functional because they lack the delusional thinking.
You should try to meet some real "live" people with this diagnosis...I think you may be surprised. Whatever you read seems to have identified a very narrow, specific manifestation of a complex diagnosis. I am also curious about those folks' medication regimes (if any) as that makes a big difference.
Reply With Quote
  #29  
Old 03-27-2012, 10:02 PM
handsomeharry handsomeharry is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdn View Post
Having never been schizophrenic (as far as I know), I can't really comment on this.
Hey, everybody...tdn is slipping again....going into his 'not commenting' mode. Didn't he take his medicine?



At any rate, all top-drawer humor aside: My friend diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and he matched up pretty much with Sampiro's description.

Last edited by handsomeharry; 03-27-2012 at 10:03 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #30  
Old 03-28-2012, 01:50 PM
tdn tdn is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Quote:
Originally Posted by handsomeharry View Post
Hey, everybody...tdn is slipping again....going into his 'not commenting' mode. Didn't he take his medicine?
The government fed it to the dolphins.
Reply With Quote
  #31  
Old 03-28-2012, 09:05 PM
gracer gracer is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
I'm not schizophrenic, but once had a really bad turn on some medication that a schizophrenic friend said was very similar to the way she experienced things.

It wasn't like when you take drugs, and you know why you are seeing things/experiencing things differently/behaving differently. It was a build up over weeks. I got hallucinations, and realised they were not real, but I didn't realise that having them was not normal, or that my reaction to them was not normal.

This is what my friend recognised: she said even when she heard voices she sometimes knew that the voices were not real, but that's not the same as thinking that you shouldn't react to the voices etc.

Obviously, I am no expert, but that's the sense I can make of it. There are parts you might be aware are not real/normal and other parts you don't experience as out of the ordinary. Those parts work together in a real-life conspiracy against your sanity.
Reply With Quote
  #32  
Old 03-28-2012, 09:37 PM
Wesley Clark Wesley Clark is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Nope. I speak from personal experience.
Reply With Quote
  #33  
Old 03-29-2012, 12:08 AM
Faruiza Faruiza is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Nevermind. Read intent wrong.

Last edited by Faruiza; 03-29-2012 at 12:09 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #34  
Old 03-29-2012, 12:40 AM
TokyoBayer TokyoBayer is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
I'm not myself, but have complex PTSD which, at times, has similarities in that the emotional and thinking processes get seriously tangled. My younger brother is psychotic but since he doesn't really believe it and refuses treatment, then we don't know if he is bipolar or schizophrenic. My father was undoubtedly psychotic and quite possibly schizophrenic, and it's not fun growing up with a parent like that. Since your friend is not taking medications, I hope he doesn't have children at home.

One of the biggest problems is that your healthy / sick meter is dysfunctional. You can be really screwed up, but not know it. An analogy is being tone deaf. If you are, how can you tell? I've always known that I wasn't a good singer, but never really realized how bad I was until once with I was singing "Twinkle twinkle little star" with my young daughter and saw the reaction from my nephew and niece.

I had a few lessons with vocal instructor and it turns out I'm not truly tone deaf in that I can tell that the notes are changing, I just never learned how to judge / pay attention sufficiently to see if they were going up or down, and by how far. My wife has an electronic piano which lights up the correct keys corresponding to the notes and ohmygod I can't believe that is how the song goes. All this time, my mind had substituted another barely recognizable tune for the correct one, so it was like I was hearing something different than others. The only way I could understand that was because of the visual clues.

I didn't really understand how badly things had affected me until recently and suddenly it's so much more clear. Just like seeing the keys light up and realize I've been hearing a different melody than others.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Inigo Montoya View Post
(This one is the most difficult because it demands a denial of a gut feeling, something you simply know to be true)
I imagine that my flashback are a similar phenomena. Various things will trigger a flashback, and then the automatic response kicks in and you know that the panic is real and that you are in imminent danger, and this feeling keeps escalating until you do something, which naturally isn't appropriate for the occasion because you really aren't in danger. If suddenly we are in a war, then my reaction will be right, but until then I have to learn how to defuse this gut feeling.

Inigo, can you say more about the process of gaining this understanding and learning how to follow the rules? That's where I'm at now.
Reply With Quote
  #35  
Old 03-29-2012, 02:28 AM
AHunter3 AHunter3 is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: NY (Manhattan) NY USA
Posts: 16,314
I have often been aware that the thoughts in my head are unusual ones, that the mental processes that originated them are likewise not commonplace. I do not share the unspoken assumption that "normal' mental processes are more desirable than the schizzy ones. I live with less day-to-day certainty that I'm not batshit nutsy than you're probably accustomed to feeling about your own mind, although you could probably do with more questioning of yours.

Diagnosed schizophrenic quite a while back, don't take shrink meds or have any wish to be normalized, thank you very much.

Does that address your question?
Reply With Quote
  #36  
Old 03-29-2012, 08:30 AM
The Great Sun Jester The Great Sun Jester is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Quote:
Originally Posted by TokyoPlayer View Post
Inigo, can you say more about the process of gaining this understanding and learning how to follow the rules? That's where I'm at now.
Concept is simple: buy into the idea that anything you believe or feel that is not completely logical is a lie. On the one hand, if you're religious, this will obviously cause problems for you. On the other, it helps if you allow yourself (and this is totally playing the schizo) to believe such thoughts are the the suggestion of your inner demons. In a way, they are. Your mind is broken to the point where its deceptions are so destructive as to border on malevolent anyway.

So adopt logic as your compass, and no matter how bored you get, never take your eyes off it. Meanwhile, when you're sure you're lucid, identify situations that set you off and make rules for yourself to avoid them or handle them in a specific way. This involves a lot of trial and error. But when you find something that works, don't deviate from it. For instance, I have to avoid music, movies, books, even just discussions involving infidelity. Just yesterday the radio heads were discussing whether you should tell your SO you cheated even if they couldn't find out on their own, or should you keep it to yourself even if it makes you miserable--for a good 15 minutes I had to fight off the urge to believe my own wife was doing Denver. The fight consisted of a recognition of why I was wanting to believe that, calling out the demon by name: paranoia. Some other rules are upthread.

PTSD is something I'm not familiar with, but it sounds to me like your answer is to insist you are always safe (and make sure you keep yourself in safe situations!), and when you feel unsafe focus initially on the feeling itself, not your environment. Recognize the feeling as the problem, and then notice how incongruous it is with your environment, and then focus on how safe you really are: nobody's shooting at you, there are no rabid dogs about, that airplane is clearly a commercial plane full of people who don't even know you're there.... And when I say focus, that may mean literally stopping your current business and just looking around at things. Watch a bird, examine a tree, anything to absorb your attention.
Reply With Quote
  #37  
Old 03-30-2012, 01:13 PM
Necros Necros is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Golden, CO USA
Posts: 2,403
Maybe we can start a Denver crazy person support group.
Reply With Quote
  #38  
Old 03-30-2012, 02:32 PM
Jasper Kent Jasper Kent is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
I've known several people with schizophrenia and it defintitely depends on the person and the moment. Some are very aware of their disease-- to the point where they will check their reality with others ("I hear sirens. Do you?") Others are oblivious to or in denial of their condition.

Most fall somewhere in between. I know a guy right now who is aware of his condition and takes meds that help a little. He will laugh about some of his delusions and the next minute tell you something absolutely crazy in total seriousness.
Reply With Quote
  #39  
Old 03-31-2012, 12:22 PM
elfkin477 elfkin477 is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: NH
Posts: 19,737
Quote:
Originally Posted by lavenderviolet View Post
I've worked on mental health inpatient units. It's true that the majority of patients don't recognize that they are mentally ill ( "lack of insight" is a classic part of many mental illnesses).
I host web-seminars for doctors (of the MD & PhD sort) in the mental health field and according to them lack of insight is the #1 most common symptom of schizophrenia - 97% of schizophrenics lack insight. So it seems pretty uncommon for them to realize that they're ill.
Reply With Quote
  #40  
Old 03-31-2012, 04:42 PM
Thylacine Thylacine is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
I have other diagnoses but after years of psychotropics destroying my blood brain barrier I now have had serious reactions to drugs I need for my battered body. A couple of years ago during chit chat with my doctor I mentioned I was getting plenty of exercise having to walk out of town to get to unmanned railway stations after work because I couldn't tell station staff from cops in their new uniforms. The fact that I needed to avoid cops was a given in my mind, the station staff looking like them was the problem. I may have spent years skulking about avoiding blue uniforms and muttering unnoticed had it not been for the doc asking if I was exercising.
Reply With Quote
  #41  
Old 03-31-2012, 11:24 PM
Heckity Heckity is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Quote:
AHunter3 I do not share the unspoken assumption that "normal' mental processes are more desirable than the schizzy ones.
My brother has a number of diagnoses. He's Bipolar, has borderline personality disorder (?) and I suspect schizophrenic, as there is a family history. His typical debate with me when I try to encourage him to seek medications to help him is as AHunter3 states. He doesn't believe that his view of the world is less beneficial to him than is possible.

I see him tortured by paranoia and caught in cyclical arguments and behaviors. Unfortunately he's lost his business, his first and second wife and the children he's created with each. He is incredibly difficult to socialize with and he withdraws further into his own world every day.

I try to keep him in the fold, but he frankly exhausts me. It breaks my heart for him and I wish I could help him.
Reply With Quote
  #42  
Old 04-01-2012, 12:41 AM
Isamu Isamu is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Thing is, I kind of feel partly responsible for what happened to this guy. I was putting together a business deal with 5 or 6 different players and originally he was considered one of the building blocks for the final phase. But due to his own pig-headedness, (which, looking back was probably the early-warning signs of his instability) he had to be cut out of the picture. Like most deals, there were weeks and weeks of planning and talking and then when things reached critical mass the blocks fell into place very rapidly and the deal was done, without him.

That's when he really got bad and started blogging that I was part of a global conspiracy ("the shadows") that are fighting against him and his secret benefactors (linked to the CIA), involving murder (someone did, in fact, die during the deal but it was an accident). I don't mind the blogging because (1) no one could take it seriously and (2) it makes me look like some kind of badass Bond villain, but I still feel somehow responsible, in a small way. I should try and contact his family back in the States.

Last edited by Isamu; 04-01-2012 at 12:41 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #43  
Old 04-01-2012, 09:15 AM
coffeecat coffeecat is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Massachusetts, USA
Posts: 1,365
Does the guy not take his meds because he doesn't think he needs them, or because he hates the side effects? If it's the latter, maybe his psychiatrist could tinker with them till the side effects aren't as troublesome.
Reply With Quote
  #44  
Old 04-01-2012, 01:51 PM
FlyByNight512 FlyByNight512 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by coffeecat View Post
Does the guy not take his meds because he doesn't think he needs them, or because he hates the side effects? If it's the latter, maybe his psychiatrist could tinker with them till the side effects aren't as troublesome.
I hope the person you're asking will weigh in on this particular situation, but IME it's not uncommon for people to reject psychiatric drugs just on the general principle. If you're paranoid and believe that people are out to get you, drugs that will make you compliant are probably the last thing you want to take. I got a very brief taste of this once when I tried to taper off some antidepressants, started going a bit nuts, and found myself thinking that I 'didn't want to be drugged back into normality', because I was seeing and understanding things that 'normal' people can't. Conveniently, none of these things I was getting insight into were things that could be explained in words.... I took the hint and restarted the antidepressants the next day!

I also know a young man who refuses to take antidepressants on the grounds that he 'doesn't want to put anything unnatural in his body'. The kicker is that he also has thyroid problems, which are very easy to control with medication and hell to live with, but he refuses medication for that too on the same grounds. Never mind that his current thyroid imbalance is probably more unnatural than having it balanced due to medication! Again, it's one of those things where you can't reason someone out of a position that they didn't reason themselves into.
Reply With Quote
  #45  
Old 04-01-2012, 04:39 PM
bump bump is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdn View Post
Having never been schizophrenic (as far as I know), I can't really comment on this.

But here's something to think about. When you're depressed -- and I'm not talking about a clinical diagnosis, just a case of the blues -- do you know you're depressed? Or do you feel like life sucks, life always has sucked, and life will continue to suck until quarter past infinity? For me it's the latter, and everyone I've talked to about it can relate. On the flip side, when you're happy, doesn't depression seem like a really irrational and stupid choice that you can easily avoid?

The thing is, even for mentally healthy people, we tend to live inside of our emotions and rationalize them as the normal state of being. I'm sure that for someone who is mentally ill, this is triply true.
Minor aside... what you're talking about is a big part of why cognitive behavioral therapy tends to work; if you do it right, you learn to identify when you're depressed, and to some extent what negative thoughts and assumptions are making you depressed. Finally, there are some methods for rethinking what's making you depressed and snapping out of it. Much better than just sort of marinating in the depression without really being able to do anything about it.

Sounds like Inigo's rules are kind of similar in practice- for example, he realizes that his family and friends are NOT plotting against him, and short-circuits that line of thinking before it can really set him off. I'm no psychologist, but you(Inigo) may want to look into CBT if you haven't already.
Reply With Quote
  #46  
Old 11-03-2012, 06:01 PM
jo n jo n is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
schizophrenic husband

I knew he had issues when i married him 13 years ago however it is bad now and i am sitting here with my head in my hands. I just dont know what to do. He has been diagnosed with sever schizophrenia, bi polar ocd. he wont get meds and his delusions and outburts are killing me. he wont listen to reason, wont be calm. Everyone is out to get him, he sees bugs and rats everywhere, I have ruined his life (among very other vile names) no one loves him and never did, we all using him and he distorts everything that happens to make him look like the victim, talks of issues in the past wheter 10 years or 5 years ago as if it happens in the present, only his feelings are important no one elses. I dont know what to do. His episodes are out of control yet i cant call the police for a medical issue because he would know i called. He talks of hurting people, killing himself yet he had said that for ten years and doesnt so i think maybe cry for help I just dont know. I need advice from someone who knows how to handle men like this. Please someone help me figure out how to deal with him
Reply With Quote
  #47  
Old 11-04-2012, 10:27 AM
Clementine Clementine is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
I'm so sorry. I'm not a medical professional, nor have I ever dealt with a partner who is having these issues. But I wanted to reach out and let you know I hear you and am sympathetic.

I think you ought to call the police. If there's any doubt in your mind that he might hurt someone or yourself, you have to. I know you say that he'll know. Well, he will. Maybe he'll divorce you. Maybe he'll hate you. Maybe he'll thank you and be grateful. Who knows? But you shouldn't have to live like this in despair. I would say that you need a break, which you'll undoubtedly get if they decide to lock him up for a couple of days.

Take care of yourself. You are important too.
Reply With Quote
  #48  
Old 11-04-2012, 12:03 PM
Lasciel Lasciel is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Sweetheart, I know this is a horrible time, but you need to call the police.

People who are a danger to themselves (suicide) or to others (he might hurt you) can be forcibly committed for 24 hours while psychiatrists figure out how best to help them stabilize. It sucks, you feel like a horrible person, but just think - how will you feel if he DOES kill himself (or hurts someone else) and you didn't do anything because you didn't want to hurt his feelings?

Please - don't worry if he knows you called him in. The disease already has you tagged as a bad guy. Your calling help for him will not make this worse. Doing nothing might.

Please call. That is honestly the best way to help your husband right now. I'm so sorry that you're dealing with this.
Reply With Quote
  #49  
Old 03-17-2013, 09:31 PM
Mitchconner Mitchconner is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eve View Post
Yep, I have a friend who is a classic paranoid schizophrenic--he knows the government is trying to coerce him into a gay sex ring and that he is the chess champion of the world, and that he and various celebrities have mind melds. And of course, I cannot reason him out of this--he gets rather defensive when I try.

He refuses to see doctors, as he had a bad experience years ago being committed to a snake pit asylum and drugged up, so I really cannot fault him there. Also, the doctors are all in on the gay sex ring.

It's very sad--he is no danger to anyone but himself, and I just do not see a happy ending for him at all, poor bastard.
Is his name Barack Obama?
Reply With Quote
  #50  
Old 03-18-2013, 03:41 AM
Idle Thoughts Idle Thoughts is offline
Moderator
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Arizona
Posts: 9,626
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mitchconner View Post
Is his name Barack Obama?
Welcome to the SDMB, Mitch, however there are rules here you must follow. For one, you're posting in a pretty old thread, that you bumped up only to make a political jab. This way of posting and type of behavior is very discouraged here..so, in fact, I'm going to tell you not to do it again.
Reply With Quote
Reply



Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:21 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright 2013 Sun-Times Media, LLC.