• Christopher Tanner

A Good Reason to be Skeptical Part One: Schizophrenia

“If you think this Universe is bad, you should see some of the others.” –Philip K. Dick

As ever with any posting on any psychological disorder, understand that no blog is going to be an adequate replacement for actual time with a professional psychologist or doctor. If you have reason to suspect you or someone you love may be suffering from schizophrenia or any other psychological disorder, please get help. Here are a few GREAT resources that can get you started and may be able to help point you in the direction of proper diagnosis / professional. Thank you.




How many times has someone told you that they heard or saw something that seems incredible? If you’re like me you’re prone to be skeptical, and there are numerous reasons why this is generally the best approach, but one of the best reasons is the existence of mental processing disorders like schizophrenia.

Highly misunderstood and stigmatized, schizophrenia actually has no clear cause. Though there seems to be a genetic element involved (10% chance or so if a parent has it) some may manifest this disorder without any apparent familial history involved (perhaps around 1%). Interestingly, many of the most likely factors in the development of this illness do not seem to work in isolation from the others. Rather, evidence suggests that environmental and genetic factors generally work in tandem to bring it on. Interestingly, it may well be that while the diagnosis of schizophrenia has an inherited element, it may still be dependent upon certain environmental triggers which may also be dependent on the case in question, which makes predicting development nearly impossible. (NIMI 2014).


Some prevailing theories actually say that schizophrenics may well be suffering from a multitude of mental illnesses at once. This might include certain chemical distributions in the brain, most notably the neurotransmitter dopamine (and potentially serotonin), and it seems likely that this imbalance can make a person more susceptible. One may also experience cognitive shifts in awareness, as in emotions and behavior which seems to make it clear that the brain is the location where this particular disorder develops. (NIMI 2014).

It is worth noting that there is evidence that certain chemical usage may either push to schizophrenic relapse or potentially increase the odds of its development (including cannabis and LSD). These same chemicals may also potentially aid in the development of numerous other cognitive illnesses of psychosis. The State Government of Victoria, Australia (2014), has put out some research in this regard, though it seems evident more research is needed. Also worth noting is that certain prescription drugs may increase the odds, and this includes steroids and some stimulants (APA 2013).

-Active Symptoms-

  1. Delusional States: Perhaps believing falsely in some sort of oppression by an outside source, or possibly delusions of grandeur or even guilt. Perhaps believing some sort of plot or conspiracy against them which may result in the patient hiding or isolating themselves to escaped imagined persecution.

  2. Hallucination: May experience hearing, smelling, seeing or even tasting things that are not there.

  3. Thought Disorders: Potentially difficult to understand or follow in conversation, they may jump from topic to topic without clear reason and may present with incoherent or muddled speech patterns.

Other potential symptoms include; lack of motivation, lack of ability to express emotions, withdrawal from social situations and difficulty making friends or maintaining relationships, difficulty processing situations cognitively, and even a total lack of awareness they are schizophrenic. This disorder can be highly immobilizing and without intervention there may be little chance that the individual will seek help on their own. Distrust is a common factor of the delusional states that accompany and frequently make it necessary for family and loved ones to act on behalf of the individual (especially in severe cases).

One of the most common troubles with schizophrenia comes from stigmatization and frequently these individuals suffer from the mistreatment of others. This is not a problem that can be cured with tough love, nor is it something that the sufferer can fight their way through; they have an illness and they will most likely require help to live a normal life. That said, there have been many great and influential people who are known to also have been schizophrenic.

  1. Lionel Aldridge: Super Bowl-winning football player

  2. John Nash: Considered genius, mathematician/Nobel Prize Winner

  3. Andy Goram: Scottish soccer player/goal keeper

  4. Peter Green: Of the band ‘Fleetwood Mac’

  5. Alexander “Skip” Spence: Of the band ‘Jefferson Airplane’

  6. Syd Barrett: Of the band ‘Pink Floyd’

(These examples were taken from http://www.schizophrenia.com/famous.htm )

With proper treatment, it is possible for people with schizophrenia to live normal lives and even achieve great things. Please seek help for yourself if you need it, and seek help for those you love if they do.

Want a posting about a mental illness, disorder, or other issue in psychology? Feel free to leave a suggestion on any issue you would like a post on and there is a very good chance that I will do it. Otherwise I look forward to next week, and remember, STAY SKEPTICAL.


State Government of Victoria (2014) The Link between Cannabis and Psychosis; http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Cannabis_marijuana?open

American Psychiatric Association (2013) Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders. 5th ed. Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.

National Institute of Mental Illness (2014) Schizophrenia; http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/schizophrenia/index.shtml


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