Excerpts from A Life Worth Living – Schizophrenia Alternative Treatment: Part 2 – Looking for Answers
The knowledge that stress brings on the symptoms of schizophrenia and also is behind the first psychotic episode of schizophrenia is simple information but not widely known.
It is very likely that stress affects all areas of the brain but particularly the prefrontal and temporal regions: the same dysfunctional neural regions involved in schizophrenia. The fact that this link is not so often explored by many authors of popular theories about schizophrenia reminds me of the old metaphor that says, “It’s difficult for the fish to see the water around them.” Psychiatrists don’t seem to understand this simple relationship between stress and the progression of the disease and don’t advise their patients accordingly.
People with schizophrenia cannot overcome deep tension. For example, recovery of self-esteem can be long term, adding to their social isolation, sense of alienation, and social defeat. These aspects contribute to the spiral to more stress and anxiety and a deep sense of helplessness.
If I had known this when my son first showed signs of schizophrenia, I would have directed all of my efforts to remove the stress in his life. My son didn’t need to go to a major university, he could have returned to the junior college near his home, which is what he wanted to do once he left the university. Instead of encouraging him to do that and supporting him and his defeated self-esteem, I told him it didn’t make sense for him to return to junior college since he had already graduated with honors. This was logical thinking and totally disconnected from my son’s condition. After that, he isolated himself and told us lies about the education he was pursuing. He felt like he had failed us as well as himself.
Early in Marco’s illness, Dr. Mackliff recommended that Marco not attend the university for a year and have the BEAM surgery as soon as possible. He said that studying uses the glucose in the brain, and this imbalance increases the production of adrenaline, thereby increasing stress in his body. This idea seemed too drastic to us at the time, and we had no one to turn to. His psychiatrist flippantly said, “Perhaps, he’ll do fine,” when Marco wanted to start at university. He completed one quarter with straight A’s at a prestigious university, freaked out his roommate and left the university. It was then that he began planning his suicide which he executed two months later.
Stress is a permanent condition in the person with schizophrenia. There is too much adrenaline in the body, and this produces stress.