Stress as It Relates to Schizophrenia

Stress as It Relates to Schizophrenia


It is important for people to act quickly when they have schizophrenia. Things change very quickly with schizophrenia and what is possible now may not be possible in the future. Stress is an underlying factor in this.

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.

(Diforio, 1997).

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.

Researchers have shown that the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenaline axis

is involved in various ways during chronic stress depending on the type of

stressor, the individual response to the stressor, and other factors. Stressors

that threaten the physical integrity, are uncontrollable, or implicate trauma

may have a high profile and higher than normal levels at night, resulting

in a high level of cortisol release during the day. Controllable stressors

instead tend to produce more normal morning cortisol. The release of

the stress hormone tends to gradually reduce over the time since tension


The effect of the average levels of cortisol in schizophrenic patients

compared to controls match with people that suffer from affective disorders.

(Diforio, 1997).

The person with schizophrenia is terrified about normal existence and

its multitude of social demands coupled with an inability to communicate

with others. Parents and partners of persons with schizophrenia need to

be extremely sensitive to the reality that persons affected by schizophrenia

perceive. People with schizophrenia need to feel supported and loved

in spite of their inabilities to socialize well and to communicate. This is

why education of the parents and partners is so essential. I believe this

education is extremely lacking in modern psychiatric care, both inside and

outside of the hospital. In my case, we all walked around in the dark, ignoring

the basic symptoms until it was too late. This is a real tragedy in

the current scientific age where so much can be known about the brain

and its functions.

Patients of Dr. Mackliff and their families are filled with deep gratitude

for Dr. Mackliff for his thirty years of careful scientific work, documenting

his findings based on simple observation of his patients and what

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.

Stress is a permanent condition in the person with schizophrenia.

There is too much adrenaline in the body, and this produces stress.

Research in Europe by researchers such as Jim van Os, in the Netherlands,

has highlighted the etiological importance of various psychosocial risk

factors in schizophrenia. On a biological level of analysis, much of the research

has focused on the neuroendocrine system, particularly the limbichypothalamic-

pituitary-adrenal axis (LHPA).

It is important for people to act quickly when they have schizophrenia. Things change very quickly with schizophrenia and what is possible now may not be possible in the future. Stress is an underlying factor in this. Act now to schedule the BEAM surgery for your loved one or for yourself. Educate yourself on the BEAM Procedure and write to Dr. Mackliff.


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