Stress as It Relates to Schizophrenia

Stress as It Relates to Schizophrenia

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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

occurred.

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.

 

Testimonial from Eduardo, 24 year old American Man

In 2010, I took Eduardo to his regular Dr to look at his depression. Eduardo told his Dr that he wished to die and they moved him to the a mental health hospital in Torrance, California; He was there for 72 hrs, they gave him risperidone, and they told me he had schizophrenia.

I could not believe that my son had that and did not know how cruel and dangerous was schizophrenia. In Del Amo Clinica they gave him risperidone and his symptoms of schizophrenia worsened day by day, he began not to sleep, to leave with little clothes or sometimes No clothes on the street. I had to call 911 to find him, Eduardo said that my family wanted to kill him and he also tried to kill me.

He talked to himself, hallucinated that the psychiatrists only experimented  with antipsychotics and no treatment served him and that he still had the same symptoms even taking pills, He did not leave his room very little and slept only 2 hrs and sometimes not at all, On April 2018, through Suzanne Patterson I heard from Dr Mackliff and called him, In June 2018 Eduardo jumped from a 3-story balcony of the apartment where we lived and is alive miraculously. After he was given a very high dose of zyprexa 45mg having the side effects of Dystonia Akathisia and tremors,

On September 19, he was able to travel to Ecuador for the surgery of Dr Mackliff and after the surgery he slept s all night his psychosis improved by  70%.

It will take time for full recovery and today he only takes 15mg of zyprexa..I’m grateful to God, Dr Mackliff and Suzanne for this miracle of such a successful surgery, my son looks different and I am very happy to see him better day after day. …

After 8 years I returned to see Eduardo smile and his face improved. I give my testimony as a mother who loves her son, and I really recommend people with schizophrenia to be brave and do this surgery … if they have tried so much antipsychotic why not treat this that will heal them forever. My name is Olga and any question to communicate to my email oizr03@hotmail.com

 


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Suicide Prevention Month

September is Suicide Prevention month. Every 12 minutes there is a suicide in America.

It can be frightening and intimidating when a loved one reveals or shows signs of suicidal thoughts. However, not taking thoughts of suicide seriously can have a devastating outcome. If you think your friend or family member will hurt herself or someone else, call 911 immediately. There are a few ways to approach this situation.

  • Remove means such as guns, knives or stockpiled pills
  • Calmly ask simple and direct questions, such as “Can I help you call your psychiatrist?” rather than, “Would you rather I call your psychiatrist, your therapist or your case manager?”
  • Talk openly and honestly about suicide. Don’t be afraid to ask questions such as “Are you having thoughts of suicide?” or “Do you have a plan for how you would kill yourself?”
  • If there are multiple people, have one person speak at a time
  • Ask what you can do to help
  • Don’t argue, threaten or raise your voice
  • Don’t debate whether suicide is right or wrong
  • If your loved one asks for something, provide it, as long as the request is safe and reasonable
  • If you are nervous, try not to fidget or pace
  • If your loved one is having hallucinations or delusions, be gentle and sympathetic, but do not get in an argument about whether the delusions or hallucinations are real

If you are concerned about suicide and don’t know what to do, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). They have trained counselors available 24/7 to speak with either you or your loved one.

Providing Support

Even if your loved one isn’t in a moment of crisis, you need to provide support. Let her know that she can talk with you about what she is going through. Make sure that you are actively and openly listening to the things she says. Instead of arguing with any negative statements that she makes, try providing positive reinforcement. Active listening techniques such as reflecting feelings and summarizing thoughts can help your loved one feel heard and validated. Furthermore, reassuring your loved one that you are concerned for her well-being will encourage her to lean on you for support.

Be Educated

One of the best things you can do if you know or suspect that your loved one is contemplating suicide is educate yourself. Learning about suicide, what the warning signs are, and how it can be prevented can help you understand what you need to do as a member of their support system.

If Possible, Be Prepared

If your friend or family member has had suicidal thoughts in the past, it’s a good idea to have a crisis plan just in case. This means that you’ll need to work together to develop the best course of action if a crisis situation should occur.

NAMI website

Why didn’t I take my son for the BEAM surgery?

This blogpost is my response to a question a parent asked me regarding my own experience with my son who committed suicide.

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We tried to convince our son to go to Ecuador for the procedure. He did not want to give up going to UCLA for which he had a scholarship. He completed one quarter at the university, received straight A’s, and then dropped out and was hospitalized. His father visited Dr. Mackliff and the clinic in Ecuador and tried to set things up for Marco to go. When he returned to CA where Marco was living with him, Marco refused to even speak with Dr. Mackliff on the phone. I believe he had an idea that the procedure would make him simple. The testimonials at that time, were from a boy who only had a high school education and others who were not academic. I believe his psychiatrist told him that, without knowing anything about BEAM. His father printed out all of the information on BEAM and gave it to him and also had met a boy who had gone through the procedure very recently. He told my son that the boy was fine, not 100% yet, but better than with schizophrenia.

My son had a very strong will and was very intelligent. He had decided after leaving the university to take his life after considering all of his options. He convinced us that he was taking an online course through UC Berkeley extension program. He stayed in his room and isolated himself; he refused to see a psychiatrist since starting the university in January of 2014. He took his life in July of 2014. We were too ignorant about the signs of depression and suicide; separate from the vegetable state considered normal while on antipsychotic drugs. 

This is the reason that I have spent the past four years writing a book, creating a film, and maintaining a blog, to educate parents, so that they don’t have to lose their children like I did.

Sincerely,

Suzanne

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Suzanne with Miguel, 28-year-old boy with 8 years of paranoid schizophrenia who had the BEAM surgery in January 2018 and is now living a normal life.

Bi-polar Disorder Vs Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is commonly mis-diagnosed as bi-polar disorder. The closest most accurate diagnosis is schizo-affective disorder, described as an irregular type of schizophrenia by psychiatrists. In this disorder, characteristics of schizophrenia are combined with the mood swings of bi-polar. Patients with this disease should be advised to watch for depressive episodes and the risk of suicide. We were not advised. The famous Amen Clinic prides itself on its accurate diagnoses, but fails to give any practical advice on how this diagnosis differs from regular schizophrenia. Antipsychotic drug treatment is the first line of treatment given for both diseases.

Schizoaffective Disorder

Like other psychotic disorders, schizoaffective disorder can be a difficult diagnosis to determine. The patient must meet all the criteria for schizophrenia and have significant mood symptoms. It must then be determined that the mood symptoms are not causing the psychotic symptoms. To do this the doctor takes a careful history to know whether there have been psychotic symptoms even when there have been no mood symptoms.

Bi-Polar Disorder Misunderstood as Schizophrenia

Bipolar disorder is often confused with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder, but it is not the same illness. It is a mood disorder characterized by manic, depressed, or mixed mood states. Symptoms of mania include an elevated or irritable mood, grandiosity, decreased need for sleep, racing thoughts, distractibility, agitation, poor impulse control, and pressured speech. Depressive symptoms include a sad mood, guilty feelings, poor appetite, and weight change. A mixed state has characteristics of both manic and depressed states at the same time.

The difference between bipolar disorder and schizoaffective disorder is that in bipolar disorder the mood is the predominant symptom, and it is cyclical in nature. When the mood symptoms remit, the patient returns to normal functioning. In schizoaffective disorder, the mood symptoms may clear, but other symptoms persist.

Schizophrenia

The symptoms used to diagnose schizophrenia were described to me by Dr. Jose Mackliff, an Ecuadorian psychiatrist and scientist who was the Director of the Schizophrenia Ward at Luis Vernaza Hospital for thirteen years and developed BEAM Procedure for schizophrenia. For thirteen years, he observed the suffering of his patients, knowing that the antipsychotics couldn’t help them and only kept them sedated. Instead of becoming depressed, he became excited about the metabolism behind schizophrenia.

At the beginning of the disease, there is isolation, loss of student activity, deterioration of personal hygiene, and strange ideas that manifest in the person. In the middle of the process, strange, delusional ideas; ideas of greatness; religious ideas without content of persecution; persecutory ideas; auditory hallucinations of more than two words not related to depression; loss of thought association and poverty of content; magic thoughts; clairvoyance; telepathy; inappropriate emotions; and disorganized behavior. If a patient has any of these symptoms during the stages of the disease, it is schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia as a Functional Disorder

This description came from interviews with Dr. Mackliff and is based on observations he made in his patients before and after they had the BEAM (bilateral electro-coagulation of adrenal medulla) surgery. He describes schizophrenia as beginning in the hypothalamus-pituitary-thyroid axis:

The axis is formed by three hormones: glucagon, cortisol and adrenaline, but in the schizophrenic patient adrenaline is failing to arrive in the axis, and this develops metabolic problems, energy problems inside the neuron. In other words, a series of factors causing intra-cerebral communication disorders between the thalamus and the cortex, and this is the schizophrenic process. Dr. Mackliff hypothesized that too much adrenaline is produced in schizophrenics. The brain therefore blocks the entry of blood adrenaline into the HPTA axis. Dr. Mackliff saw that by eliminating the hormone adrenaline from its source, the adrenal medulla glands, the brain would compensate by producing nor-adrenaline. This source of adrenaline goes directly into the HPTA axis, restoring the right amount of cerebral dopamine in the limbic region of the brain.

In the brain, dopamine functions as a neurotransmitter—a chemical released by nerve cells to send signals to other nerve cells. The brain includes several distinct dopamine systems, one of which plays a major role in reward-motivated behavior. Most types of reward increase the level of dopamine in the brain, and a variety of addictive drugs increase dopamine neuronal activity. Other brain dopamine systems are involved in motor control and in controlling the release of several other important hormones. Schizophrenia is a result of an excessive amount of dopamine in the limbic region of the brain.

Completion of a Work of Love

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Suzanne Patterson with son Marco, 2012

Tuesday, January 23rd, was the premier film showing of A Life Worth Living – Solution to Schizophrenia, in the community where I live. Twenty people attended; both well-educated and medical professionals, and friends. The film was very well received and the evening, a real celebration.

In my presentation before the film, I spoke about how three and one half years ago when my son died from schizophrenia and antipsychotic drug treatment, an aim crystalized in my being, and two months after his burial I began researching schizophrenia, antipsychotic drug treatment and a treatment called BEAM Procedure which was done in Ecuador and had successfully eliminated the symptoms of schizophrenia in 56 patients at that time.

This began an incredible journey which led to writing a book co-authored by Dr. Mackliff; founding a non-profit named Only the Difficult Productions Foundation; traveling to Ecuador and meeting Dr. Mackliff and surgeon, Dr. Oscar Sanchez and several of their patients who had had the BEAM surgery four years prior to the meeting, and had recovered from schizophrenia. The journey has gone full circle, with two new American patients, Miguel and another, who had the surgery in January of 2018, and who are already experiencing a liberation from the symptoms of schizophrenia along with a great reduction in the antipsychotic medication they are taking.

Dr. Oscar Sanchez passed away on January 7th, 2018. I wish to honor his great contribution of almost 100 BEAM surgeries,as well as a lifetime of surgeries on patients throughout South America where he was considered one of the best urology surgeons available. He was a great surgeon and man. Before leaving, he trained his two sons, both urology surgeons, in the BEAM surgery. Dr. Frank Sanchez with Dr. Mackiff, now does most of the BEAM surgeries.

I ended my presentation by saying, “This was a work of Love, and I felt my son’s presence with me for most of the time. At that moment, I truly felt my son’s presence in the room and began to cry. I will be forever grateful for that moment, and my son’s life who was the real reason for this film being created. I dedicate this film to my son, Marco Joshua Alfonso and Dr. Oscar Sanchez.

urologia 2 (1)

Dr. Oscar Sanchez and Dr. Jose Mackliff

The film completed, but the work of promoting Dr. Mackliff’s work continues with the aim of reaching many more families with a message of real hope, through film media, cable TV and radio.

hope-2

 

Suicide Rate in Males with Schizophrenia and Open Payment Database

Males with schizophrenia attempt suicide at a much higher rate than females; approximately 60% of them will make at least one attempt. The result of these attempts is that between 10% and 15% of people with schizophrenia have historically committed suicide. (NIMH)

Psychiatrists should counsel parents with children with schizophrenia to be aware of this. My son committed suicide after one year of having schizoaffective disorder and being put on a high dose of Seroquel. It was only two years after his suicide that a suicide warning was put on the medicine label (2016). My son’s psychiatrist (Dr. Edward Oklan, San Rafael, CA) received payments from the pharmaceutical industry for prescribing Seroquel. He prescribed dosages as high as 2000 mg per day. This dosage is 1400 mg higher than the highest tested dosage (600 mg) by the pharmaceutical manufacturer. There are no checks on the dosages that psychiatrists can prescribe. When we told our psychiatrist that we thought the dosages were too high, he simply told us to look for another psychiatrist if we didn’t trust his judgement.

Parents should check the Open Payments database to check if the psychiatrist they are considering receives payments for prescribing a certain type of antipsychotic.

Doctors and hospitals having financial relationships with health care manufacturing companies stimulated the creation of Open Payments, a federally run transparency program begun in 2014 that collects information about these financial relationships and makes it available to the public. These relationships can involve money for research activities, gifts, speaking fees, meals, or travel. One of the ways Open Payments provides this data to the public is through a search tool, which allows an individual to search for a doctor or teaching hospital that has received payments or a company that has made payments. Exploring this information and discussing the results found with your healthcare provider can help to make more informed healthcare decisions.

More information about the program can be found on the Open Payments website www.OpenPaymentsData.cms.gov. There you can get an overview of the data that’s been collected and displayed and learn more about the context around the data. For questions about the data, contact the Open Payments team at opdata@cms.hhs.gov.