Tuesday, August 5, 2008


My big project this month is a rescue attempt of a homeless severely paranoid schizophrenic (I'll explain another time), and so I've been researching the disorder. I've found a couple of resources that should be read by anyone who is (or thinks they may be) schizophrenic, and by anyone who knows or cares for schizophrenics. Or, for that matter, by anyone else!

Fred Frese is a severe paranoid schizophrenic who has been in and out of hospitals, and given up on more than once. But now he's a leading psychologist and even came to run one of the institutions in which he was once committed! Here's
a story about him.

Having read about Dr. Frese's story, check out his masterwork:
12 Aspects of Coping for Persons with Schizophrenia.

The most interesting takeaway is that Dr. Frese may be functional, but is not "normal", nor is he particularly aiming to be. He can be schizophrenic and productive, active, and happy - even though he may remain a bit odd-seeming to others. Dr. Frese uses his medication not to conform, but to stave off the most inconvenient effects and to help extricate himself from particularly disfunctional periods. It's an extremely enabling view of the condition, and one which will revolutionize the thinking of anyone caring for sufferers.

It's common knowledge that stress can trigger latent schizophrenia, as can alcohol and other substances. Dr. Frese notes a couple of factors I'd not heard before. First, positive stress (i.e. excitement) can be as much a trigger as negative. And, also, "statements of resentment, disapproval, or dislike, and any comments expressed with critical tone, pitch, rhythm, or intensity in their voice, hostile remarks indicating personal criticism, and emotional over-involvement, constant worrying about matters, overprotective attitudes, intrusive behavior" are all factors that contribute to relapse. That's obviously a trap, because when someone is rambling on about how the CIA is plotting against them, a certain amount of disapproval and criticism may well be forthcoming.

Please give Dr. Frese's piece a read. You may realize you know more schizophrenics in your daily life than you'd thought. And you'll be better suited to treat sufferers insightfully.

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