of the Senses:
These changes range from enhancement in the early stages of schizophrenic
breakdown to a blunting of sensations in the later stages, e.g.
pain. The patient may experience flooding of the mind by sensory
stimuli or thoughts. Some patients develop excessive religious
preoccuptaions and have
to synthesize and to respond (also known as 'thought disorder'):
patient's difficulty in synthesizing visual and auditory stimuli
results in inappropriate responses which hamper interpersonal
relationships. The altered synthesis produces thought patterns
characterized by impaired logic, loose associations, blocking,
ambivalence in responses and actions, neologisms, and "word
sense of self:
to the inability to synthesize and to sort visual and tactile
stimuli, which enable us to differentiate our bodies from the
external world of objects and persons, the schizophrenic person
experiences distortions and confusion regarding the boundaries
between his/her self and other people or things. Body parts may
be experienced as dissociated or detached, with lives of their
own. Or the person may be confused about his/her sexual characteristics.
As an outgrowth of body boundary distortions, sensory overacuteness,
faulty synthesis of incoming stimuli and inappropriate responses,
the schizophrenic person experiences:
are basically false ideas which the patient believes to be true,
but which cannot be or are not validated by members of his/her
culture and to which he adheres in the face of reason. Delusions
are also the product of a person's culture, experienced as a logical
and coherent pattern, and can only be be evaluated in this context.
Two common kinds are:
delusions: characterized by a belief that one is being
watched, followed, controlled, persecuted, attacked (when frightening
enough, they may precipitate an attack in self-defense and
delusions: centered on the belief that one is an exalted
figure, often political or religious, and that the patient can
exert mind control over others.
can be auditory (the most common kind), visual, or auditory-visual
combined. They may originate in a stimulus, but are a gross distortion
of sensory overacuteness-even to the point of representing something
that is not there or was not said.
earliest changes are fluctuations and exaggerations in feelings.
Guilt and fear often predominate. The emotions expressed may be
inappropriate, laughter at death, crying over a joke, or they
may be flattened, thus impairing empathy with another or others.
The physical result is apathy, slowness in movement, lack of drive,
often thought to be drug effects, but in actuality a product of
the disease itself. Mentally, the person may exhibit poverty of
thought and speech; emotionally, he becomes detached from objects
in behavior: (secondary signs):
is one of the major changes. It is a defensive maneuver to slow
down sensory inputs and allow time to integrate them or to avoid
the horror of other symptoms. Behavior becomes ritualistic, with
posturing, gesturing, parroting what others say. Repetitious movements
may develop - tics, tremors, tongue movements, and sucking. These
movements are in some cases, side effects of anti-psychotic medications.
However, they were also obvserved before such medications were
available and, in some cases were caused by the disease itself.
apparent "craziness" in everything a schizophrenic person
says and does "has its roots in the disordered brain function
that produces erroneous sensory data and disordered thinking. Given
the disordered brain function as a starting point, many schizophrenic
persons are heroic in their attempts to keep a mental equilibrium.
And the proper response of those who care about the unfortunate
person with this disease is patience and understanding."