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Cross-cultural experiences of schizophrenia

A new study by Stanford anthropologist Tanya Luhrmann and others found that voice-hearing experiences of people with serious psychotic disorders are shaped by local culture – in the United States, the voices are harsh and threatening; in Africa and India, they are more benign and playful. This may have clinical implications for how to treat people with schizophrenia, she suggests.
posted by Rumple on Jul 19, 2014 - 24 comments

How can I move forward in my life if I never know what I'm dealing with?

Why Chicago’s MasterChef Star Killed Himself
posted by and they trembled before her fury on Jun 26, 2014 - 36 comments

What Michael did

“He did what he did out of fear,” Michael’s father says now. “He was mentally ill. Not criminally responsible means you’re not morally responsible.”

“It wasn’t his fault,” says Rebecca, who rested her hand on her brother’s shoulder as they walked out of court that day.
How does a family cope when one of them kills his mother in the midst of a psychotic episode?
posted by MartinWisse on May 3, 2014 - 25 comments

found mike

A videoblogger from the U.K. named Jonny Benjamin started a social media campaign called #FindMike to track down the stranger who convinced him not to end his life in 2008.

Earlier this year, Benjamin found "Mike" (whose real name is Neil Laybourn) with help of Rethink Mental Illness, the organization that helped launch Benjamin's search. In the video, you can watch their heartwarming reunion.
posted by yeoz on Mar 13, 2014 - 6 comments

The Real Monsters

Artist Toby Allen has created fantastic faces for monsters which many are all too familiar with: Anxiety, Avoidant Personality Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Schizophrenia, Depression, Paranoia, Dissociative Identity Disorder, And Social Anxiety. [via]
posted by quin on Sep 20, 2013 - 18 comments

His name is Dr. Chencho Dorji and he is Bhutan’s first psychiatrist

Meet the overwhelmed psychiatrist in the world’s happiest country (via)
posted by spamandkimchi on Sep 18, 2013 - 4 comments

The Reality Show

Schizophrenics used to see demons and spirits. Now they talk about actors and hidden cameras – and make a lot of sense. Clinical psychiatry papers rarely make much of a splash in the wider media, but it seems appropriate that a paper entitled ‘The Truman Show Delusion: Psychosis in the Global Village’, published in the May 2012 issue of Cognitive Neuropsychiatry, should have caused a global sensation. Its authors, the brothers Joel and Ian Gold, presented a striking series of cases in which individuals had become convinced that they were secretly being filmed for a reality TV show.
posted by Telf on Aug 23, 2013 - 48 comments

"For some, suicidal intent is a terminal illness"

Suicide prevention has become a key focus of public and private mental health initiatives in recent years. And as we previously have seen, in many cases suicide is not an inevitable outcome for people experiencing suicidal ideation or even those who have made a suicidal attempt. Still, the question remains: is every suicide preventable? [more inside]
posted by drlith on Aug 5, 2013 - 65 comments

"People treated it with respect, but didn't particularly enjoy it."

In 1973, The Who released their sixth album, Quadrophenia. The epic double album tells the story of a boy named Jimmy Cooper who deals with mental illness on top of the run-of-the-mill stresses of teen life. But Jimmy Cooper isn't just any London teen.  Jimmy Cooper is a Mod. [more inside]
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey on Jul 29, 2013 - 68 comments

You fooled 'em Chief. You fooled 'em all.

How easy is it to fake mental illness? [more inside]
posted by not_the_water on Jul 9, 2013 - 44 comments

America's mental health care crisis

Schizophrenic. Killer. My Cousin. "It's insanity to kill your father with a kitchen knife. It's also insanity to close hospitals, fire therapists, and leave families to face mental illness on their own." [Via]
posted by homunculus on Apr 29, 2013 - 25 comments

It's Not in Your Brain, It's in Your Genes

The psychiatric illnesses seem very different — schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, autism, major depression and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. A study funded by the NIMH and published in The Lancet, as reported by the New York Times indicates that five seemingly-different psychiatric diseases share several genetic glitches. [more inside]
posted by kinetic on Mar 1, 2013 - 49 comments

How I Fell in Love with a Schizophrenic

Kas Thomas writes about his "all-in" relationship with Sally, a woman diagnosed with schizophrenia. Yesterday, my true love, Sally, had a psychotic break and went into the (mental) hospital, where she'll probably be for the next two weeks. Today, I'm writing as a means of therapy. Therapy for me. I knew going into this relationship that it would entail ups and downs, and hard work... [more inside]
posted by winecork on Jan 1, 2013 - 86 comments

Sic transit gloria Zanta

Zanta (previously, previously) was a fixture of the streets of Toronto for several years. Zanta (b. David Zancai) was a muscular, shirtless man in a Santa hat who entertained passersby for years and he was the subject of a 2007 graphic novel and a documentary film. His absence the last few years had been noticed and commented on. Zanta (or someone pretending to be him) launched a Twitter-based mayoral campaign in 2009 but he had been quiet since then. The Toronto Star reveals today that Zancai is alive, living with his mother and being medicated for his schizophrenia.
posted by ricochet biscuit on Oct 12, 2012 - 25 comments

"Beyond the Brain"

"Beyond the Brain" In the 1990s, scientists declared that schizophrenia and other psychiatric illnesses were pure brain disorders that would eventually yield to drugs. Now they are recognizing that social factors are among the causes, and must be part of the cure.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies on Sep 20, 2012 - 28 comments

An Operating System for Songs from God.

LoseThos is an operating system written by a schizophrenic programmer. [more inside]
posted by dmd on Aug 29, 2012 - 255 comments

Living With Voices

A new way to deal with disturbing voices offers hope for those with other forms of psychosis.
Hans used to be overwhelmed by the voices. He heard them for hours, yelling at him, cursing him, telling him he should be dragged off into the forest and tortured and left to die. The most difficult things to grasp about the voices people with psychotic illness hear are how loud and insistent they are, and how hard it is to function in a world where no one else can hear them. It’s not like wearing an iPod. It’s like being surrounded by a gang of bullies. You feel horrible, crazy, because the voices are real to no one else, yet also strangely special, and they wrap you like a cocoon. Hans found it impossible to concentrate on everyday things. He sat in his room and hid. But then the voices went away for good.

posted by Joe in Australia on Aug 14, 2012 - 79 comments

“The symptom that bothers me the most is the one I can’t even begin to describe.”

Culture, delusions, and the early treatment of schizophrenia.
Greg Downey: Living in the prodrome, part 1, part 2. [more inside]
posted by nangar on Jul 28, 2012 - 20 comments

Virtual and Analog Art

Bryn Oh is staging an art exhibition called Virginia Alone simultaneously at the Santa Fe New Media Festival and in Second Life (free account required). [more inside]
posted by Deoridhe on Jul 13, 2012 - 2 comments

Managing, or Failing to Manage, an Epidemic of Mental Illness

There is a critical shortage of acute mental health services throughout the nation that is making it increasingly difficult for people who don't meet standards for "imminent danger" to receive adequate care. Barring a dramatic change in the systems that provide care, what alternatives are there for seriously mentally ill people? Incarceration has often become a form of care provision, but behavioral courts are an emerging alternative. (Previously.) [more inside]
posted by liketitanic on Jun 23, 2012 - 18 comments

New toxoplasma findings

Your cat may be giving you parasites that make you reckless and maybe even schizophrenic.
posted by texorama on Feb 8, 2012 - 62 comments

In this white darkness, we will take the place of everything

Just wait till we're alone together. Then I will tell you something new, something cold, something sleepy, something of cease and peace and the long bright curve of space. Go upstairs to your room. I will be waiting for you... As a rare October blizzard drifts a blanket of white across the Northeast just before Halloween, what better time to settle in and read (or watch) Conrad Aiken's most famous short story, "Silent Snow, Secret Snow." About a small boy who increasingly slips into an ominous fantasy of isolation and endless snow, it could be viewed as a metaphor about autism, Asperger's syndrome, and even schizophrenia before such conditions even had names. In addition to the 1934 short story, the tale has also been adapted as a creepy 1966 black-and-white short film (also at the Internet Archive) and as a Night Gallery episode (1, 2) narrated by Orson Welles. Or for a more academic take, see the essay "The Delicious Progress" examining Aiken's use of white as a symbol of psychological regression.
posted by Rhaomi on Oct 29, 2011 - 9 comments

Executive With Schizoaffective Disorder Uses Job to Cope

A High-Profile Executive Job as Defense Against Mental Ills. “I feel my brain is damaged; I don’t know any other way to say it,” Ms. Myrick said. “I don’t know if it’s from the illness, the medications, all those side effects or what. I only know that I do need certain things in my life, and for a long time — well, I had to get to know myself first.” (Nytimes link). Keris Myrick is also on the board of NAMI, National Alliance on Mental Illness.
posted by sweetkid on Oct 24, 2011 - 71 comments

Outside Consensus Reality

In 2003 and again in 2009, Director Andy Glynne, with Mosaic Films and BBC4 created Animated Minds, a series of animated documentaries to express the subjective experiences of various kinds of mental health disorders. [more inside]
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur on Oct 22, 2011 - 5 comments

Metacognitive training for schizophrenia suffers (and everybody else)

Metacognitive training is a useful complementary treatment approach to schizophrenia. MCT aims at sharpening the awareness of patients for a variety of cognitive biases (e.g. jumping to conclusions, attributional biases, over-confidence in errors), which are implicated in the formation and maintenance of schizophrenia positive symptoms (especially delusions), and to ultimately replace these biases with functional cognitive strategies. Researchers at the Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf have developed an MCT program, comprised of eight modules targeting common cognitive errors and problem solving biases in schizophrenia. [more inside]
posted by aeschenkarnos on Jul 2, 2011 - 16 comments

You all need to have your heads examined

The epidemic of mental illness plaguing the Americans and the overmedication of psychiatric patients are in part artifacts of the diagnostic method. [more inside]
posted by hat_eater on Jun 22, 2011 - 50 comments

Are psychoactive drugs fueling an epidemic of mental illness?

Is the contemporary epidemic of mental illness fueled by useless or even harmful anti-depressants and other psychoactive drugs? A review of books by Irving Kirsch, Robert Whitaker, and Daniel Carlat, notes that per Kirsch, "[a]n active placebo is one that itself produces side effects...there was no difference between the antidepressant and the active placebo" (new research claims very severe cases are different). Whitaker argues that psychoactive drugs may actively "disturb neurotransmitter function" and cause mental illnesses which a mounting cascade of drugs are then needed to manage. (previously, previously)
posted by shivohum on Jun 6, 2011 - 113 comments

Put It On Or Something. Something.

W Magazine has Ryan Trecartin to make a fashion spread. [more inside]
posted by artof.mulata on Dec 13, 2010 - 8 comments

The Insanity Virus?

New research hints that schizophrenia and other mental illness may be caused by "endogenous retroviruses" stored in our DNA and activated by common infections such as CMV, toxoplamosis, or the flu
posted by T.D. Strange on Nov 12, 2010 - 98 comments

The Downside of High

THE DOWNSIDE OF HIGH (trailer) tells the stories of three young people from British Columbia who believe – along with their doctors – that their mental illness was triggered by marijuana use. [more inside]
posted by KokuRyu on Jan 27, 2010 - 167 comments

Everyone's On LSD!

Autistics on LSD Elephants on LSD British Troops on LSD Spiders on LSD Cats on LSD Argentinians on LSD Childhood Schizophrenics on LSD
posted by jonp72 on Nov 27, 2009 - 78 comments

A Few Strange Notes About Schizophrenia

Here's a strange one for the books: Science has taken notice that a really, really LARGE proportion of schizophrenic patients smoke. In fact, Scientific American Mind reports that an average of 85% of schizophrenic patients smoke cigarettes compared to only 20% in the general population. Many schizophrenics also appear to have abnormal thermoregulation, an impaired ability to understand body language, an inability to perceive an optical illusion called "the hollow mask illusion," an impaired ability to produce a brain protein known as the muscarinic M1 receptor, and an abnormally large number of genetic mutations known as CNV's or "copy number variations."
posted by mdpatrick on Sep 29, 2009 - 65 comments

Psychiatric Tales

Schizophrenia, a story from Darryl Cunningham's forthcoming Psychiatric Tales.
posted by Artw on Sep 24, 2009 - 30 comments

" They that die by famine die by inches." -- Matthew Henry

The winter of 1944–45 is known as the ‘Hunger Winter’ in The Netherlands, which was occupied by the Germans in May 1940. Beginning in September 1944, Allied troops had liberated most of the South of the country, but their advance towards the North came to a stop at the Waal and Rhine rivers and the battle of Arnhem. In support of the Allied war effort, the Dutch government in exile in London called for a national railway strike to hinder German military initiatives. In retaliation, in October 1944, the German authorities blocked all food supplies to the occupied West of the country. Despite the war, nutrition in The Netherlands had generally been adequate up to October 1944. Thereafter, food supplies became increasingly scarce. By November 26, 1944, official rations, which eventually consisted of little more than bread and potatoes, had fallen below 1000 kcal per day, and by April 1945, they were as low as 500 kcal per day. Widespread starvation was seen especially in the cities of the western Netherlands. Food supplies were restored immediately after liberation on May 5, 1945.
But for many, who weren't even born when it started, the hongerwinter continues. Why? In part because "certain environmental conditions early in human development can result in persistent changes in epigenetic information" via DNA methylation. Epigenetics seems like a little bit of Lamarckism: environmental effects on a parent -- or even a grandparent -- can be passed to offspring, even without permanent changes to DNA. (previously)
posted by orthogonality on Sep 7, 2009 - 26 comments

It's 200 degrees in Calalini...

Only six years old, January Schofield is severely schizophrenic, actively hallucinating and violent. An LA Times article in June and a follow-up in July describe her parents' attempts to get help for her. Her father also has a blog. [more inside]
posted by infinitywaltz on Aug 26, 2009 - 123 comments

Thanksgiving dinner explained

"If some of the same genetic risks underlie schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, perhaps these disorders originate from some common vulnerability in brain development...Of course the big question then is how some people develop schizophrenia and others develop bipolar disorder." So hold off on the celebrations.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Jul 2, 2009 - 36 comments

Some comics about mental illness by Darryl Cunningham.

Some comics about mental illness by Darryl Cunningham. (via)
posted by MegoSteve on Jun 12, 2009 - 39 comments

Not Safe For Kids

The Junior Christian Science Bible Lesson Show is easily the most terrifying "children's show" ever broadcast. [more inside]
posted by chuckdarwin on Jan 25, 2009 - 42 comments

Why does everybody hate me?

Imagine if you were the only person on earth; if no one else could understand you except yourself. No matter how hard you tried, you could never make contact with the outside world, not for long at least. This is the life of a Schizophrenic. Here, in a simulation created to understand what a typical trip to the pharmacy is for a patient suffering from Schizophrenia [previously], you will experience for a few minutes what life is all about for people afflicted with this disease. (via) [more inside]
posted by hadjiboy on Sep 11, 2008 - 53 comments

Well what do you want? It's just an FPP!

Calvin. Hobbes. Calvin and Hobbes. John Calvin and Thomas Hobbes. Calvin and Hobbes and Ten Pounds of Bullshit. Calvin and Durden. Nash and Hobbes. Calvin and Hobbes and School Controversies. Calvin and John Calvin and Hobbes and Thomas Hobbes and Republicans. Calvin and Hobbes and Childhood.
posted by Navelgazer on Jul 29, 2008 - 23 comments

Napoleon Doesn't Hold A Candle...

Meet The Crazy Robertson. The newest sensation at the center of Hollywood's fashion scene isn't a famous designer or starlet. It's a 56-year-old homeless man who spends his days dancing on roller skates. Check out his website, Myspace, and some of his sweet dance moves. There are some that find this not so cool.
posted by rooftop secrets on Nov 17, 2007 - 26 comments

Wain's World: How the Artist Went Insane When the Cat Got His Brain

Louis Wain became one of the most famous British illustrators of the late Victorian and Edwardian era after trying to cheer up his wife Emily by drawing portraits of their pet cat, Peter. In addition to publishing a popular children's book about kittens, he was a founder of the U.K's National Cat Club who was instrumental in promoting the Cat Fancy movement, which encouraged Britons of all classes to view cats as lovable pets instead of household pests. Unfortunately, after Wain's wife Emily died of breast cancer, Wain gradually went mad due to psychosis and late onset schizophrenia, ending up in London's notorious Bethlehem Hospital (the etymological origin for the word bedlam). While at Bedlam, Wain continued to draw, but his cat portraits transformed into pure geometric abstraction and psychedelic fractals, but some see harbingers of madness in cryptically titled works, such as Early Indian Irish and The Fire of the Mind Agitates the Atmosphere. For more insight on Wain, check out this 1896 interview and this short film dramatizing the progression of Wain's schizophrenia through his art.
posted by jonp72 on Aug 12, 2007 - 25 comments

"Do you hear voices?" "Doesn't everyone?"

INTERVOICE (International Network for Training, Education and Research into Hearing Voices) "offers information, publications, research, and good practice on hearing voices and other key issues." Voice hearing is surprisingly common, even normal. Many people find it a pleasurable and positive experience. Find everything from stencil graffiti to a recent New York Times magazine article on the work of the Hearing Voices Movement. (w i k i s)
posted by srs on Mar 29, 2007 - 20 comments

"This sister of mine, a dark shadow robbing me of sunlight, is my one and only torment."

The strange story of June and Jennifer Gibbons.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Dec 29, 2006 - 9 comments

I am a human being. I live on planet earth.

Welcome! This is The Manifesto of Forbidden Truth the most unique and dangerous web site on planet earth. Here, within these pages, all of your most sacred societal Myths, Dogmas, Doctrines, Delusions, Derangements, and Brainwashings will be stripped to the bone and torn asunder, to be replaced by the Forbidden Truths that I shall graciously reveal.
posted by stinkycheese on Jan 5, 2006 - 64 comments

This so called reality

If the universe is a hologram and the healthy human brain a valve of consciousness then where'd this mental infinity come from? Are we simply living the simulacrum? Or does Pi protect us all, forever, infinitely?
posted by 0bvious on Nov 22, 2005 - 39 comments

From Skid Row to Disney Hall

"I haven't been in a concert hall in 4 billion years". Nathaniel Anthony Ayers, 54, had been excited about an invitation to see the Los Angeles Philharmonic in action at Disney Hall. "The anticipation is horrible". He'd started showering daily at a shelter, to gussy himself up as much as possible. Nathaniel was a music student more than 30 years ago at the Juilliard School when he suffered a breakdown. Today, as he continues to battle the schizophrenia that landed him on skid row, he plays violin and cello for hours each day in downtown Los Angeles, lifting his instruments out of an orange shopping cart on which he has written: "Little Walt Disney Concert Hall — Beethoven." After the Philharmonic's rehearsal, Ayers has played Disney Hall -- the real one, this time. Without the bow at first, picking the strings with his right hand, Bach's Cello Suite No. 1: Prelude. Several Philharmonic staffers heard the music and wandered over, peering in to see a man of the streets, tattered and elegant, close his eyes and drift into ecstasy.
posted by PenguinBukkake on Oct 9, 2005 - 14 comments

Jeannot's Floorboards

Plancher de Jeannot: Jeannot moved his bed to the dining room, next to the stairs, and began carving the oak floor: 'Religion has invented machines for commanding the brain of people and animals and with an invention for seeing our vision through the retina uses us to do ill...
posted by R. Mutt on Oct 3, 2005 - 12 comments

Gender Based Brain Research

A review of the current state of gender based brain research shows that women and men differ both in the way their brains are constructed and in how they function.
..correlation between brain region size in adults and sex steroid action in utero suggests that at least some sex differences in cognitive function do not result from cultural influences or the hormonal changes associated with puberty--they are there from birth.
Treatment for such things as schizophrenia and depression will likely have gender specific variations in the future. Previously, brain research that examined gender differences was considered controversial because it was argued that the results might give rise to more sex discrimination against women. That view may be changing.
posted by peacay on May 3, 2005 - 33 comments

Survivors of the spiritual hurricane unite

Inside the mind of a paranoid schizophrenic. Memorize the keywords with which the lizards of the stage world will attempt to distort your reality. Can you accept your own vampirism? Are you familiar with the most common reality fishing techniques and horse movements? This is the painstaking record of a man for whom delusions have completely overtaken reality. Spend some time with it - the detail is mind-numbing and the reality he has created is utterly insane... and occasionally convincing. Mirror in case Geocities croaks.
posted by BlackLeotardFront on Mar 17, 2005 - 45 comments

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