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.
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.
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.