Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia, previously called dementia praecox (Emil Kraepelin), is a psychiatric disorder which results in a premature deterioration in cognitive abilities (usually has its onset in the teen years, or early 20’s), along with other disturbing symptoms (e.g., auditory hallucinations, delusions) and signs (e.g., ‘flat’ affect, speech which is not logical).

In Western culture, there is, generally speaking, no place for schizophrenic people. They are institutionalized and medicated with generally poor results. In some other cultures and in a few Western ‘micro-cultures’ (a small group of people who live within a limited geographic area and/or who share a particular perspective, or setting, such as a school, business, religious institution, etc.) the schizophrenic is not cut off from the social group, and medication is not the ‘mainstay’ of treatment. This generally results in a better outcome for the individual and involves the use of less medication. Very significant improvement can be achieved when the Whole Psychiatry approach can be utilized in concert with such micro-cultures, a supportive calm family, and a drug free environment.

Rutten: Schizophrenia Bulletin; 2009: Vol 35 (6):1045-1056

This author suggests that the biological underpinnings of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are not primarily genetic, but are epigenetic. Environmental exposures at key developmental phases may result in long standing neuro-biological changes leading to pathology. Direct evidence is limited at this point. Rutten is calling for investigations into the molecular modification of DNA function.

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