Why Shouldn't Schizophrenics Relax?

I was reading this web page that a classmate sent me yesterday, and I was struck by this curious statement under the heading “Is there anything I should watch out for”?:

Why is this? I would imagine that a lot of seriously mentally disordered people must be wound tighter than a yo-yo in a centrifuge. It would seem to me that relaxing would be beneficial for them. Is there really any truth to this statement?

I suspect they’re specifically referring to meditation-type techniques- schizophrenia results in delusions, hallucinations, etc., and focusing entirely on mental images may feed this.

IANA psychiatrist, this is not medical advice, I am certainly wrong, etc.

Yeah, I was thinking it was something along those lines myself. Maybe it’s not a good idea to get too far inside your own head when there’s a nothing but a Bugs Bunny cartoon playing in there. But I’m still wondering why, specifically, this is ill advised. What about people with personality disorders?

How bizarre. I’ve never heard of that one before.

My WAG: Meditation can lead to insight, and can lead one to discover deep-seated inner truths about themselves and the world. Schizophrenics, if you like, already have TOO MUCH INSIGHT, and these newly-discovered truths may combine with their irrational thoughts and make things worse. Or something like that.

But I really have no idea. There are many relaxation techniques that don’t involve meditation, so maybe whoever wrote that statement just worded it poorly.

These sources (and a bunch of others I found) all recommend the practice:



Makes sense to me. I’ve LONG recommended ALL people to stop thinking too much (except those who obviously think too little). Schizos are especially vulnerable to the potential tragedy of thinking too much. Obsessive-compulsives, too.

It reminds me of a story I heard about Vivien Leigh. She was already suffering from some sort of mental or emotional disorder when she started filming A Streetcar Named Desire. She was using method acting for her role, a procedure that involves getting inside the head of the character. Blanche Dubois was nutty as a fruitcake, and Vivien spent too much time in character and had a bad breakdown. I’m only going on memory of some film factoid, so I’m off to research the accuracy of this story.

I’ve heard the same kind of story regarding Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man. He was kind of Raymond-esque at the Academy Awards that year, too.

The OP’s link reads to me like a CYA line. ‘Make sure they’re not bonkers, they might sue.’

For what it’s worth, I contacted a friend who works as a psychotherapist, and he called that statement “absolutely ridiculous.” So there you go.

I have nothing valuable to add to this conversation, except that I really, really wanted to point out that this is a very wise, pithy thing to say and should be used as a sig by someone :slight_smile: More people should take your advice!!!

It would have been even wiser if I had more carefully proofread the sentence before I posted it. That’s supposed to read *‘when there’s nothing but a Bugs Bunny cartoon.’ *

I hate typos! :smack:

And there are rumours about this concerning Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight. The fact that this story pops up so often with different actors strongly implies that it’s either commonplace or an urban legend.

Let me use this sequence of posts to say, “This is why we need you back, Eve!!”

(For relatively new members, Eve (Golden) is the celebrated and published biographer of Hollywood stars who was an active and vibrant part of the Dope for several years, and who took a break. She is a lurker as time permits at present; I hope she will reclaim her place among us soon.)

Leigh was bipolar, not schizophrenic. It was her disorder that ultimately lead to the break-up of her relationship with Sir Lawrence Olivier.

I know nothing about her, but for the record, severe bipolar episodes can cause hallucinations indistinguishable from schizophrenia.

I’ve heard that, but I was just saying. Either way, I always felt her whole situation was a tragedy. (And either way, it’s gotta suck).
Eve’s not her now? Say it ain’t so!

Maybe I’m misunderstanding you. Wouldn’t you think that meditation (and therefore the practice of stopping thinking) would be beneficial to schizophrenics?

Washoe, the image of Bugs Bunny cartoons sounds so pleasant. It doesn’t seem to be so nice for some of the “schizophrenics” I’ve met. They’ve had to deal with seeing murders on an almost daily basis or having everyone they know tell them lies and be in a conspiracy against them.

I can’t imagine anyone who shouldn’t relax!

I love you with the white hot intensity of a thousand suns.

I have indirect professional experience of relaxation classes being provided for people with severe mental health problems. I’ve never heard anyone within the UK mental health scene saying they have a destructive effect.

On a related note, some people with psychotic illnesses even undergo Cognitive Behaviour Therapy to help them with anxiety at times when they are not experiencing primary symptoms, which is not something you would expect if mindfulness was seen as being counter-productive.