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Schizophrenia Message Board

Schizophrenia Board Index

You are born with schizophrenia? Really? You are born with beliefs? You believe in biological determinism? Well..most psychiatrists do.

[quote]I heard that this mental illness and the medication you take for it can suppress the immune system. True or not?

I love this girl very much, but she has the illness. She got diagnosed 6 months ago. Her family said she got it from smoking marijuana with an ex-boyfriend of hers. How can marijuana cause people to become mentally ill like this?

I don't know how long I can be strong enough to be with her, or how strong enough she is to be with me? I don't know what to do at this point...

Can Vitamin B-12 and Magesium oral supplements help her condition?[/quote]

Portia is right. Marijuana cannot cause "schizophrenia" becuase "schizophrenia" does not exist. What marijuana use can do is cause behavioral, emotional, and personality changes that are [i]undesirable[/i]. If you research the diagnosis of schizophrenia from past to present you will see it encompasses everything a person can think, feel, or do that is undesirable at the time. I can't decide whether it was the marijuana unless I know what was your friend thinking, feeling, or believing that got her the diagnosis of schizophrenia? Now I don't know and I have to ask you because there is no one set of symptoms for schizophrenia, unlike real diseases. There are few "mental illnesses" that have not at one time or another been called schizophrenia and present definitions of schizophrenia are vague or inconsistent with each other. People who are obsessed with certain thoughts or who feel compelled to perform certain behaviors, such as washing their hands repeatedly, are usually considered to be suffering from a separate psychiatric disease called "obsessive-compulsive disorder". Yet, people with obsessive thoughts or compulsive behaviors have also been called schizophrenic. You can be diagnosed schizophrenic without hallucinations or with hallucinations, without paranoia or with paranoia, without "delusions" or with "delusions", etc. Can someone tell me what exactly is schizophrenia? Not Dr Torrey, author of "Surviving Schizophrenia":

"The definitions of most diseases of mankind has been accomplished. ... In almost all diseases there is something which can be seen or measured, and this can be used to define the disease and separate it from nondisease states. Not so with schizophrenia! To date we have no single thing which can be measured and from which we can then say: Yes, that is schizophrenia. Because of this, the definition of the disease is a source of great confusion and debate" (p. 73). "

and not Dr. Edward Drummand:

"There is no accepted etiology of schizophrenia although there have been many theories. ... The unfortunate truth is that we don't know what causes schizophrenia or even what the illness is." Edward Drummond, M.D., Associate Medical Director at Seacoast Mental Health Center in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, (The Complete Guide to Psychiatric Drugs, 2000, pages 11-12)."

If Portia can tell me what schizophrenia is I would be surprised. A real form of psychosis is when people believe something is true just because everyone talks about it like it is.

"Schizophrenia is a brain disease"

This statement is not supported by scientific analysis. There is to date not one "mental illness" that has been shown to have a biological cause. Not one! And definitely not schizophrenia! Unethical psychiatrists are stating that schizophrenia is a brain disease like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, or multiple sclerosis. There is no "universal" recognition that schizophrenia is a brain disease "like all other brain diseases." Medical textbooks and pathology journals do not include schizophrenia as a pathophysiological condition (Schaler, 1998). A more accurate guess would be that schizophrenia are brain diseases, like earlier descriptions. Emil Kraeplin (1902) and Eugen Bleuler (1950) describe "the schizophrenias" as a group of conditions. According to O'Donnell and Grace (1998): "a major problem in the study of schizophrenia is the diversity of its symptoms, leading to the suggestion that schizophrenia is actually a cluster of diseases" (p. 267). Yet it is clearly not a biological disease, like other brain diseases. A true brain disease must be identified and confirmed by laboratory tests. No neurological, blood chemistry, or brain scan test (or any other test) independently evaluated by a neurologist, biochemist, or pathologist who knows nothing about the patient's clinical symptoms is able to reliably discriminate between a person experiencing a first episode of schizophrenia and someone who is not (Andreason, 1997 Linking mind and brain in the study of mental illnesses: a project for scientific psychopathology. Science, 275 (14 March), 1586-1593). However, such a test might well identify someone who has been taking neuroleptic medications for many years and studies with "positive findings" do not control for the effects prolonged use of neuroleptics and other drugs. Ismail, Cantor-Grace, & McNeil (1998) found that when schizophrenic patients had certain neurological abnormalities, their siblings without clinical signs of schizophrenia had very similar abnormalities. Andreasen (1995 Symptoms, signs, and diagnosis of schizophrenia. The Lancet, 346 (8973), 477-481.) found that a few people without symptoms of schizophrenia have brain abnormalities similar to those of some schizophrenic subjects. According to Lewine (1998 Epilogue. In M.F. Lenzenweger & R.H. Dworkin (Eds.), Origin and development of schizophrenia (pp. 493-503). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.) "there is no brain abnormality in schizophrenia that characterizes more than 20-33% of any given sample. The brains of the majority of individuals with schizophrenia are normal as far as researchers can tell at present" (p. 499). The cause of schizophrenia is unknown as beautifully elucidated by the following educated guess stated by Andreasen during her interview ( Farnsworth, E. (1998, July 27). Unstable minds. Transcript at Jim Lehrer's NewsHour on-line. Available at pbs newshour Past programs file, July 27, 1998.) that schizophrenia results from:

"multiple things„perhaps a genetic predisposition, nutritional factors early in life, viral infections, head injuries, exposure to toxin, exposure to drugs of various kinds, illicit drugs. All these things add up to produce a brain injury that we then recognize as schizophrenia."

Also some people diagnosed with schizophrenia progress beyond recovery, without the aid of "medication".

Your question, can schizophrenia "medication" depress the immune system. Yes. That is not all it does. Neuroleptics are used to treat schizophrenia. In the beginning it was freely acknowledged and commonly known that neuroleptics (tranquilizers) worked by damaging the brain. When they were used to punish dissidents in Russia, human rights activists protested their use on psychiatric victims. That was when pharmaceutical companies, and psychiatrists gave thorazine and neuroleptics a makeover. Since then schizophrenics "needed" neuroleptics and the image they love to use is "like a diabetic needs insulin". Psychiatrists embarked on a frenzied search for a reason why schizophrenics would need brain damaging neuroleptics. They came up with some ideas such as the dopamine hypothesis, however none of them were proven. This of course did not stop them from talking about it as if it was true and you will see many people unabashadly proclaiming that schizophrenia is the result of dopamine or some other chemical imbalance.

Yes, if it is caused by the drug marijuana or some other drug than vitamins, minerals, and good nutrition will definitely be helpful. They will be helpful anyway as anyone who uses drugs needs nutritional support.

If someone can believe, despite all evidence, that schizophrenia is a brain disease, or even that it exists as a real entity outside the realm of ideas, and yet deny that drug use such as marijuana can cause behavioral changes, or that nutrients and sauna will do nothing more than a "placebo" affect for someone who has used cocaine, she is the psychotic one. :)

Ismail, B., Cantor-Grace, E., & McNeil, T.F. (1998). Neurological abnormalities in schizophrenic patients and their siblings. American Journal of Psychiatry, 155, 84-89.

Kraeplin, E. (1902). Clinical psychiatry: A textbook for students and physicians (A.R. Diefendorf, Trans.). New York: Macmillan.

Bleuler, M. (1979b). My sixty years with schizophrenics. In L. Bellack (Ed.), Disorders of the schizophrenic syndrome (pp. vii-ix). New York: Basic Books.
Schaler, J. (1998, August 22). Mental-health parity [Letter to the editor]. Philadelphia Inquirer, p. A12.

O'Donnell, P. & Grace, A.A. (1998). Dysfunctions in multiple interrelated systems as the neurological bases of schizophrenic symptom clusters. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 24, 267-283.

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