If we have to believe the handbook and guidance guide from Schizophrenia Ireland, now called Shine, there is no cure for the disease. They claim that, ‘ Although as many as three in four people with Schizophrenia improve significantly or recover, there is no known cure to the illness. The only way to control the symptoms is with anti psychotic medication, combined with other non- medicine supportive therapies.’
This support and guidance guide is sponsored by two large pharmaceutical companies. Their power and influence within the research of Schizophrenia is far extending. They have been involved from the very beginning the illness got its name.
Schizophrenia is a old as the world it self, only people did call people who behaved out of the ordinary mad then. What causes the illness. Is it a brain deficit that needs to be replaced with a drug? Or is the illness caused after a person experienced a stressful period in his/her life?
A person with Schizophrenia can have positive, negative and cognitive symptoms. The negative
symptoms combined with the cognitive are very similar to the ones you find in a depressed person.
Positive symptoms can involve; hallucinations, delusions and paranoid thoughts. Cognitive symptoms can involve; problems with concentrating and short term memory loss.
Schizophrenia is the collective name of the above symptoms. Symptoms can be treated. A person can
learn to understand what is behind the voices s/he hears. One can learn to understand his or her own ’disturbing’ behaviour. Schizophrenia is a label which is put on millions of people who didn’t fit the norm.
In ‘On Psychotherapy’, Freud (1905) expressed the hope that psycho analytic therapy would benefit
schizophrenic patients in the future. Fifty years later, Carl Jung repeated that schizophrenia can be
completely cured using psycho dynamic theories. The Medical and Social Models have divided the
mental health world, the big losers are the patients/clients. People have the right to know there are other options. The health policy, “ A Vision for Change”, launched by the Irish government in 2006, called for the mental health patients to be accepted as active participants in their care and recovery plan. However not much has changed. John Saunders of Schizophrenia Ireland, said that 76 out of the 78 community mental health teams are totally understaffed.
Even though there are other theories which explain the cause of Schizophrenia, the two most common models used are the Medical or Disease Model and the Social Model. The Medical model claims that a biological defect in a persons brain is responsible for the illness. The Social Model claims that when a person is confronted with an extremely stressful event, his/her mind puts a defense mechanism in place.
In this paper, I will discus what these two models are about.
THE HISTORY OF SCHIZOPHRENIA
Fear to lose authority over other people has been there since time began. There is no need to go all the way back to Genesis to illustrate this. Neither is there any need to stray too far from Ireland. The role the Church played in Ireland in suppressing a whole nation is well known, even out side the country. But not only in Ireland people had to be kept in check.
In the 1700’s, the Hospital General in Paris housed people from all ages and sexes, because they were
considered inconvenient; poor, invalid, or a threat to those in power. The ‘patients’ were diagnosed as
being mad.They had some barbaric treatments in those days, like force feeding a patient soluble tartar, chimney soot, woodlice or soap.
Throughout time people who were different from the norm were seen as risks to people in power full
positions. They didn’t quit know how to control those people, so they locked them away.
Falret (1794-1870), suggested replacing the term ’mental disease’ with ’mental alienation’. He was
drawing attention to the process in which people can become disconnected from other people. Members of the medical profession turned a blind eye to his suggestion.
When Bayle discovered a genuine biological cause for one form of madness in 1822, hope was fuelled that other mental illnesses with a biological cause might be uncovered.
Decades past and no proof of a biological cause for madness was found. By the turn of the century, it was Kraepelin who claimed he had discovered an incurable, degenerating illness. Kraepelin repeatedly changed the rules for who had the illness. ‘ The causes for Schizophrenia are at the present time still wrapped in penetrable darkness.’ (Kraepelin)
In our present times we are still in the dark. Kraepelin received $ 575,000 for research in Europe from the Rockefeller Foundation. Rockefelller owned the petroleum industry and had recently discovered that by products of petroleum could be used to produce medicine.
In 1911 Bleuler published ’Dementia Praecox or the group of Schizophrenia’s.’ Inconvenient or
different behaviour like: homosexuality, laziness, rebellion and remembering too intensely were but a
few of the symptoms a patient could have. And what do you think of this one: ‘Many Schizophrenics
display lively affects at least in certain directions, among them are active writers, the world improvers, the health lunatics, the founders of new religions.’ (Bleuler 1911:41)
In 1929 Denmark became the first European nation to pass an eugenics inspired sterilization law.
(Hansen 1996) In 1935 Finland passed the sterilization Act, which allowed the compulsory sterilization and castration of idiots, imbeciles, the insane, people diagnosed with Schizophrenia or manic depression. (Hemminiki et. Al. 1997; Hietala 1996)
By 1933 the law in Germany allowed the compulsory sterilization of Schizophrenics, manic depressive, hereditary- epilepsy- blindness- and deafness, severe physical deformity and severe alcoholism. Soon other European countries followed in this crusade.
In 1938 one found that sterilization was no longer enough and although the murder on these people had started that year, the plan to kill all ‘mental’ patients began in 1939. These ‘mercy’ killings as they were called, were done in gas chambers, which were later shipped to the well known concentration camps.
In the 1940’s psychologists developed test to try to improve diagnostic procedures. Only the procedures weren’t too precise validated. One of the largest reliability studies undertaken using the test-retest approach, found that consistency for Schizophrenia was only 37%.
In 1968 psychologist Don Bannister questioned the matter that when one person manifests symptoms A and B he is diagnosed with Schizophrenia, while another person manifests symptoms C, D and E is also diagnosed with the disorder. The diagnosing of patients remains precarious in the 21st century
To be continued.