Toward a Holistic Approach to Schizophrenia
By Alfredo Zotti
Because there is more than one type of schizophrenia, different individuals may present schizophrenia differently. The combinations of outcomes vary greatly from person to person, but in general the research results seems to apply to most. Many times, the causes of schizophrenia are unknown because many aspects of brain function are not easily accessible or understood.
To date, all brain research is based on a problematic ideology: the biomedical ideology. In recent years, we have begun to understand the importance of using holistic methods which seem to be much more suitable to the study of human beings. However, research in many universities remains heavily influenced by the biomedical and scientific model which is suited to powerful pharmaceutical companies seeking market share. As a result, we end up with one-size-fits-all research and findings.
Scientific research needs to be an aspect of a broader holistic approach, not an end in itself. In addition, what is important for a society is how people cope in spite of their disabilities and handicaps — not their brain’s biochemical makeup.
A good friend told me: “…It’s all well and good to expand our esoteric knowledge of mental health issues, but if it doesn’t help people improve their coping mechanisms or quality of life, is it really helpful?” Inasmuch as it helps to expand the body of knowledge regarding the brain, our moods and our mental health, all research is a good thing. But I do believe that more of a focus needs to be put on “practical” aspects of mental health.
I guess the medical world needs to realize that meds and therapy are not necessarily at odds with each other, nor does each provide the one and only answer. Rather, they are both part of a multi-layered approach that can also include spiritual and other holistic, whole-body and whole-mind elements.”
In the longer version of this article, I look at one particular method used by researchers today to argue that schizophrenics have a decreased auditory perception. Mismatch Negativity (MMN) is the name of this particular type of research. I attempt to show some problems with this particular approach.
One of the most obvious problems is that even when people with schizophrenia have decreased perception, they can still function above normal. I have many friends who today are doctors, scientists, academics, and even psychologists who suffer with chronic schizophrenia.
In addition, I have given links to success stories of people who suffer with chronic schizophrenia, who are well and working in important jobs today. These people contribute to society rather than being a burden and they are above average intelligence. The oft-cited complication of decreased auditory perception does not seem to represent a problem in many of these cases. Actually, the auditory perception of those tested with a first time episode is identical to that of normal people. Only those with chronic schizophrenia show deterioration in auditory perception . This may indicate that anti psychotic could be responsible for this loss.