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 Post subject: Schizophrenia: An Invalid Concept
PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2005 3:21 am 
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What Jaynes did so well for consciousness, he failed to do for schizophrenia, i.e. define what he's talking about.

What schizophrenia is, is highly controversial, and its official symptoms are changed with every new edition of the DSM. In short, it is a meaningless term.

What Jaynes was in reality referring to, is the self-reported hearing of voices.

While psychiatry has seized on voice hearing as a disease to be treated, Dutch psychiatrist Marius Romme and his wife Sandra Escher have demonstrated that voice hearing is not uncommon among perfectly normal people, and has nothing to do with disease.

To Jaynes' credit, he seemed to disapprove of drugging voice hearers.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2005 5:31 pm 
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Yes I think Romme & Escher have gone a long way in showing that auditory hallucinations are present on a continuum throughout society and not necessarily an indication of mental illness. A few of the early studies of hearing voices in normals were actually inspired by Jaynes's book.

However, I think a distinction can be made between those that periodically hear a voice and those that suffer from constant, intrusive, condemnatory or commanding hallucinations that have a dramatically negative impact on their life (such as a good friend of mine).

As is the case with many other mental health issues, perhaps hearing voices can be considered both pathological and non-pathological depending on the nature of voices, their frequency, and the negative impact they have on the life of the person experiencing them.

In that sense, while schizophrenia (and mental illness in general) is certainly poorly understood, personally I wouldn't go as far as to call it an "invalid concept" or say that hearing voices has nothing to do with disease. There has to be some way to identify the group of people suffering from a set of symptoms that in some cases do respond to anti-psychotic medication, even though one symptom (hearing voices) may also be present in "normals" to a far lesser degree.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2005 12:08 am 
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Moderator wrote:
As is the case with many other mental health issues, perhaps hearing voices can be considered both pathological and non-pathological depending on the nature of voices
What makes a disease concept valid is that it can be sharply delineated from the non-disease state and from other diseases; that it can be observed by another person (physician); and that reliable predictions can be made about it. Not one of these criteria apply to any "mental illness." How could they, when the definitions of these diseases keep changing with every publication of the DSM? This is not to deny that there are a lot of suffering people on this earth. But suffering alone is not a disease.

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There has to be some way to identify the group of people suffering from a set of symptoms that in some cases do respond to anti-psychotic medication
Everybody who receives "anti-psychotic" medication will "respond" to it. This is because it is a powerful and disabling poison. People who take these drugs become meek and apathetic. Animals too, by the way, which is why they are used in dart guns when a wild animal in a reserve has to be caught for veterinary treatment.

Most people who hear voices simply continue hearing them while taking these drugs, they just stop caring. Other people do stop hearing the voices, along with the "normal" functions that stop. Still other people who never heard voices in the first place start hearing them while on these drugs.

Julian Jaynes himself did not seem to endorse drugging people who hear voices, he rather seemed to denounce it, although he was not particularly forceful on this issue. The idea that a genetic defect, if it could be established already, is amenable to drugs is rather illogical. There is no verified precedent.


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