The image to the right, is completely false. Schizophrenia does in fact mean split-brain, but what is meant by split here is not that the brain or mind is split into several minds or personalities, instead, it means a mind which has split from reality. People who suffer from multiple personalities, have Dissociative Identity Disorder.
In terms of pop culture, “Schizo” is often used to tease someone who had a sudden change of heart or mood, helping fuel the misconception that I myself fell victim too before embarking on my Psychology minor at AUB.
What’s even more interesting, is that the general attitude towards the disorder is that it is an exotic and rare, and mostly just textbook and horror movie fodder versus what it really is: an immensely widespread and prolific brain disorder.
The actual figures though, are much, much more shocking. A whopping 1.1% of the human population suffer from schizophrenia. 1.1% might seem a feeble number at first, but think about it, over 1 in every 100 people have it, that’s some 80 people in a population the size of AUB’s 8000 students.
The cost of schizophrenia is also very heavy, with hundreds of billions of dollars spent every year for care, treatment and research around the world. What is unfortunate though, is that even though the prevalence of schizophrenia is twelve times higher than multiple sclerosis, the money spent on MS research per person is almost 4 times the amount spent on schizophrenia research (NHIH 1999).
But, despite this contrast between prevalence of the disease, and the general public’s familiarity with it, many types of schizophrenia are fairly treatable. Antipsychotic drugs like Chlorpromazine traditionally, and the more recent and widely used Clozapine today, are very affective at allaying the symptoms of schizophrenia that are referred to as “positive” symptoms.
Which brings us to the types of schizophrenia and the positive and negative symptoms. Schizophrenia can be thought of as a spectrum of mental diseases that can range from a frozen catatonic state in contorted positions for days, to believing you are the son of God. The easiest way to determine which symptoms are positive and which are negative is to see if schizophrenic behavior is adding (positive) or removing (negative) elements to normal behavior. For example, a paranoid schizophrenic will feel that everyone and everything might be out to get him or her, this is a behavior added to normal behavior. A catatonic state, where people freeze for hours or even days, have something removed from their normal behavior.
I will shamelessly copy paste the categorization from wikipedia now
Paranoid type: Where delusions and hallucinations are present but thought disorder, disorganized behavior, and affective flattening are absent.
Disorganized type: Named hebephrenic schizophrenia in the ICD. Where thought disorder and flat affect are present together.
Catatonic type: The subject may be almost immobile or exhibit agitated, purposeless movement. Symptoms can include catatonic stupor andwaxy flexibility.
Undifferentiated type: Psychotic symptoms are present but the criteria for paranoid, disorganized, or catatonic types have not been met.
Residual type: Where positive symptoms are present at a low intensity only.
The reason I felt this post was in order is because aside from the gross misconceptions I used to share with a sizable portion of the world, is that I recently met a person who fit the symptoms perfectly.
He is a 22-year-old Syrian national, who following the unrest in Syria in recent weeks, became increasingly paranoid. Mediocre tasks such as driving and watching TV, were nightmarish. He perceived the other cars were driven by people who want to do him harm, and were thus closing in on him. His reactions to the popular TV show, LOL on Otv, were of hurt, that they were saying all those jokes about him.
His age, behavior and delusions are a textbook description of paranoid schizophrenia. So is the emotional trigger, which most likely was the traumatic thoughts of his family still in Syria amidst the turmoil.
This assumption, later confirmed, had a profound impact on me personally. That’s when I realized that schizophrenia wasn’t just another rare occurrence that you’ll probably never see except in your exams or books, but very much real and present everywhere, across all socioeconomic, ethnic and racial barriers.
Another popular belief is that schizophrenic people hear voices. This is true, and the hallucinations are mostly usually auditory. They are usually vile, hurtful and inappropriate words and thoughts, which are so distressing and depressing for the patient.
I hope this made some sense, I tried to be as brief and informative as possible. Many thanks to Professor Arne Dietrich for his constant guidance in all things Neuroscientific.
I love ancient mythology, it’s a whole lot more fun than our modern, uncool and boring religions. So, a movie about the Norse gods was a movie I wasn’t going to miss!
Odin, Loki and Thor are characters I used to play back in my gaming addiction phases (which has only been halted because I use a Macbook =P) and I will confess my favorite character was Loki, who in the movie, you will grow to utterly despise.
Thor is a stereotypical immature and arrogant warrior king-to-be, and his ascension to the throne is crashed by a Frost Giant incursion into the heavily fortified world of Asgard. Subsequently, Thor seeks revenge, in defiance of his father, Odin.
Thor manages to reignite the war between Asgard and Jotunheim, and subsequently is cursed by Odin, and sent to Earth, powerless. There, he meets Nathalie Portman, and of course falls in love.
However, a twist of events in Asgard sees Loki ascend to the throne via manipulative routes. The challenge now, is getting Thor back to Asgard to stop the war.
In my opinion, this was a light-hearted movie, with spectacular visuals of what the realms would look like. Asgard is especially spectacular. The movie also has serious star weight, with Nathalie Portman and Anthony Hopkins among others.
It was a great movie, but I doubt it got burned into my memory forever. It was amusing to see Lokie, Odin and Thor come to life on screen and at times, hilarious, such as when Thor walks into a pet store and announces “I need a horse” (it is funnier when you watch it =P).
So, DON’T watch it in 3D, get it on DVD later on…
IMDB Rating: 7.5/10
My Rating: 7/10