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Avatars Help Schizophrenics Gain Control of Voices In Their Heads

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the teaches-the-voices-to-argue-on-the-internet-instead dept.

Medicine 138

Zothecula writes "Imagine if there was a voice in your head that regularly threatened to harm you or your loved ones, or that even ordered you to do so yourself. Awful as that would be, such auditory hallucinations are one of the most common symptoms of schizophrenia, with approximately one in four sufferers continuing to experience them even after taking anti-psychotic drugs. Fortunately, scientists have recently helped some schizophrenics gain control of their condition, by turning those voices into interactive avatars."

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Tony? (2, Funny)

gmagill (105538) | about a year ago | (#43878741)

"Danny isn't here, Mrs. Torrence"

Leave Now, Demon! (0)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year ago | (#43878777)

Odd, my avatar looks like Goatse

Re:Leave Now, Demon! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43879195)

Odd, my avatar looks like Goatse

That's not a touch screen, you're squatting over a mirror!

Re:Leave Now, Demon! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43879327)

Lucky for us all, this therapy allows you to talk to Goatse and practice confronting it, and refusing to obey it's commands.

First, we cure them of schizophrenia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43878781)

Next, we send them across the galaxy to get adopted by neolithic native tribes and help liberate the planet from corporate invaders.

Yes! fp (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43878835)

kiil myself like the resignation *BSD b0t FreeBSD the most. Look at

schizophrenics aren't violent (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43878859)

People almost always hear the word "schizophrenia" mentioned when they hear of violence. Very few are actually violent. Studies have shown that about 5 percent schizophrenics are violent compared to 3 percent most other people.

Re:schizophrenics aren't violent (4, Insightful)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about a year ago | (#43878977)

People almost always hear the word "schizophrenia" mentioned when they hear of violence. Very few are actually violent. Studies have shown that about 5 percent schizophrenics are violent compared to 3 percent most other people.

So, there are almost twice as many violent schizophrenics per the population than other people?

Re:schizophrenics aren't violent (2, Informative)

denmarkw00t (892627) | about a year ago | (#43879211)

So, there are almost twice as many violent schizophrenics per the population than other people?

No, 5% of schizophrenics are violent, however people suffering from schizophrenia only make up < 1% of the general population.

The illness occurs in 1 percent of the general population

Source: NIMH General Information on Schizophrenia [nih.gov]

Re:schizophrenics aren't violent (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about a year ago | (#43879253)

I mean per each population, ie violent schizophrenics vs all schiozphrenics, not the whole population.

Re:schizophrenics aren't violent (1)

denmarkw00t (892627) | about a year ago | (#43879529)

Can you clarify? I'm not sure I quite understand - it sounds like you're saying there are twice as many violent schizophrenics than normal violent schizophrenics??

Re:schizophrenics aren't violent (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43879743)

He means that violence is more prevalent in the schizophrenic population than the general population. Are you that dense?

Re:schizophrenics aren't violent (1)

denmarkw00t (892627) | about a year ago | (#43879899)

No, but the statistics he was referencing for his point weren't valid (5% schizo vs 3% of the general population) since schizophrenics make up less than 1% of the population, so comparing the 5% and 3% isn't valid.

Re:schizophrenics aren't violent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43880277)

You can compare the statistics thusly:
50 out of 1000 schizophrenics are violent
30 out of 1000 people in the population at large are violent

This is what Nidi62 meant by, "Per the population," and in that sense it is valid.

The analysis you were looking for would be something along the line of:
    (5% of schizophrenics * 1% of the population) = 0.05% of schizophrenics are violent (1 twentieth of 1 percent to put it another way)
vs
  3.025253% of the general population are violent (This would be the overall rate after discounting both violent and non violent schizophrenics)

Re:schizophrenics aren't violent (1)

doublebackslash (702979) | about a year ago | (#43880345)

ugh, sorry. forgot some words, was focused on making the numbers correct:
(5% of schizophrenics * 1% of the population) = 0.05% *of the general population* are violent schizophrenics
vs
    3.025253% of the general population are violent non-schizophrenics (This would be the overall rate after discounting both violent and non violent schizophrenics)

Re:schizophrenics aren't violent (3, Interesting)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about a year ago | (#43880593)

No, but the statistics he was referencing for his point weren't valid (5% schizo vs 3% of the general population) since schizophrenics make up less than 1% of the population, so comparing the 5% and 3% isn't valid.

That's not the comparison I am making: I am saying that if 5% of schizophrenics are violent, then if you see a schizophrenic they are more likely to be violent than your average person, even though there are more violent average people in terms of total numbers.

Re:schizophrenics aren't violent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43880729)

Still, that means that the vast majority are not violent. So portraying schizophrenics as violent is something very much akin to racism.

Re:schizophrenics aren't violent (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43881059)

You are an absolute idiot.

Re:schizophrenics aren't violent (2)

Pionar (620916) | about a year ago | (#43879717)

I still read that as saying that schizophrenics are more prone to be violent than the general population.

Re: schizophrenics aren't violent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43880211)

95% of people with schizophrenia are not violent.

Re: schizophrenics aren't violent (1)

ScentCone (795499) | about a year ago | (#43880457)

95% of people with schizophrenia are not violent.

But more than 95% of everyone else are not violent. See?

Re: schizophrenics aren't violent (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43880637)

So 95% of Schizophrenics are not violent compared to 97% of the general population and people consider them violence prone while 13% of the population commit 48% of murders and nobody notices. Curious.

Re:schizophrenics aren't violent (1)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#43879389)

People almost always hear the word "schizophrenia" mentioned when they hear of violence.

I can't help what the voices say.

Do You Want to Date My Avatar? (1)

sehlat (180760) | about a year ago | (#43878881)

Well? [youtube.com] I'm waiting for an answer.

Re:Do You Want to Date My Avatar? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43879047)

Felicia Day is hotter than any avatar, which makes that video a bit of a fail.

Re:Do You Want to Date My Avatar? (1)

Nyder (754090) | about a year ago | (#43879233)

Felicia Day is hotter than any avatar, which makes that video a bit of a fail.

No, the video isn't a fail. Why? Because Felicia Day is in it.

Random Synapse Firing (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year ago | (#43878897)

My doctor says it's OK to talk to myself so long as I don't say, "Hu?"

Re:Random Synapse Firing (1)

bug1 (96678) | about a year ago | (#43878929)

My doctor says its ok for me to argue with myself, as long as i win the argument.

Re:Random Synapse Firing (2)

plaukas pyragely (1630517) | about a year ago | (#43879257)

My doctor says it's OK for me to argue with myself as long as I wear a Bluetooth headset.

Re:Random Synapse Firing (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43879407)

You joke, but I was on adage once and my date and I heard a guy arguing "on his cell phone". Turns out he didn't have a phone or an earpiece. Just crazy.

Re:Random Synapse Firing (2)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about a year ago | (#43880165)

You joke, but I was on adage once and my date and I heard a guy arguing "on his cell phone". Turns out he didn't have a phone or an earpiece. Just crazy.

I'm surprised that doctors don't prescribe cells or smartphones to their patients. That way, instead of people thinking they were psychotic, they would be thought of as cool or important.

Re:Random Synapse Firing (1)

budgenator (254554) | about a year ago | (#43879223)

My doctor says it's OK to talk to myself so long as I don't say, "Hu?"

It's when somebody else inside your head says "Hu?", that you're in trouble.

Re:Random Synapse Firing (0)

mikael (484) | about a year ago | (#43879427)

My doctor says "it's unsporting to battle wits with an unarmed opponent".

Let it out (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#43878907)

Fortunately, scientists haverecently helped some schizophrenics gain control of their condition
, byturning those voices into interactive avatars.

Not to be confused with MMORPG avatars, giving voice to fat mens' inner lipstick lesbian.

Do you know what also helps? (1)

greg_barton (5551) | about a year ago | (#43878981)

A low carbohydrate, high fat diet [nutritiona...bolism.com] can also help reduce, or eliminate, symptoms of schizophrenia.

Re:Do you know what also helps? (1)

flandre (1278778) | about a year ago | (#43879025)

A low carbohydrate, high fat diet [nutrition.org] can also help reduce, or eliminate, symptoms of not being obese.

Re:Do you know what also helps? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43879413)

A low carbohydrate, high fat diet [wikipedia.org] can also make you an Inuit.

Re:Do you know what also helps? (1)

greg_barton (5551) | about a year ago | (#43880871)

Untrue. I've lost 20lb and my systolic BP went down by 15 points since eating lchf.

Re:Do you know what also helps? (3, Interesting)

mikael (484) | about a year ago | (#43879451)

That would suggest that the problem is due to a lack of myelin sheathing over the neurons. Which would cause the meatware equivalent of electrical engineering "cross-talk".

Re:Do you know what also helps? (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#43879695)

A low carbohydrate, high fat diet [nutritiona...bolism.com] can also help reduce, or eliminate, symptoms of schizophrenia.

Your citation was based on a study of ONE patient. I am amazed that this paper was accepted for publication, even by a website. Schizophrenia affects 1% of the population, and costs hundreds of billions per year in treatment, lost income, and secondary effects (crime, courts, prisons, etc.). If it could really be fixed with just a change in diet, I think there would be a little more evidence than just this one patient.

Re:Do you know what also helps? (0)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#43880347)

If it can really be fixed with a change in diet, there's certainly not hundreds of billions of dollars in that

Re:Do you know what also helps? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43880487)

If it can really be fixed with a change in diet, there's certainly not hundreds of billions of dollars in that

Oh fuck off. That same lame argument can be used to justify any crackpot theory in any crackpot field like vaccination scares or moon landing hoaxes.

Re:Do you know what also helps? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43880709)

Companies sell ridiculous amounts of bottled water for like a 1000x markup over the very same stuff--or better stuff, in some places--that comes out of your tap. The "weight loss" industry generates multiple billions, exclusive of pharmaceuticals. Richard Simons became rich by selling fscking playing cards telling you what to eat, and by dancing with fat people on stage.

There's money in everything. And you don't need patents to be able to collect it, just quick timing and capital. And even if you're short on capital for marketing, there's no marketing as good as actual efficacy. And because a "change in diet" has virtually no other fixed capital costs, that means it's bunk.

Re:Do you know what also helps? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43880525)

Bullshit.

Re:Do you know what also helps? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43881269)

Just a thought. I have a friend with a child who is severely autistic, but the worst outbreaks only come if he eats gluten. He is somewhat manageable otherwise. I know it's anecdotal, but it has been a real help in her life to know to avoid gluten based foods for her son.

To others who hear voices - they are all you! (5, Interesting)

flandre (1278778) | about a year ago | (#43879001)

This is something that I've done for a long time - I've acknowledged that each voice has its own personality and ways of interpreting the world, and as long as they are working together or making efforts to find common ground on a lot of issues, then you as a whole can function productively. I function well enough - I've even seen a psychiatrist and other mental health counselors, who have gone on to say that although having 'delusions'/hearing voices is unusual, the schizophrenia may be a misdiagnosis since it's usually disabling. It's only a mental disease if it causes harm to you or others.

Re:To others who hear voices - they are all you! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43879459)

Everything you say is spot on and a great way to look at it. I believe this is called prodromal schizophrenia. Where there is an acknowledgement of delusions, they are recognized as delusions. You are absolutely correct in that it's only a mental health problem if it harms you or others. These 'diseases' are all on large multi-dimensional spectrums that people's brains have a predisposed spot for. Whether these setpoints can be manipulated or not is a great challenge for future science.

Resistance is futile (1)

oldhack (1037484) | about a year ago | (#43879015)

You can't control me, fool!

Why Harm? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43879027)

Does anyone know why schizophrenia svoices always seem to try and cause harm? Why don't the voices tell you to clean your house, volunteer for something, build a house, do something good?

Re:Why Harm? (1)

interval1066 (668936) | about a year ago | (#43879151)

Does anyone know why schizophrenia svoices always seem to try and cause harm?

True, diagnosable occurances of schizophrenia are rare, but when they do occur and can truly be shown to be present are a symptom of a diseased mind. Diseases rarely exhibit useful or benign patterns. How many disorders, pathogenic, endemic, or internalized, are beneficial to the host or sufferer?

Re:Why Harm? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43879401)

off the top of my head... sickle cell anemia (malaria preventitive)... most intestinal parasites (prevent crohn's disease)... Marfan syndrome (helpful if you're a musician)... do I really need to go on?

Re:Why Harm? (3, Interesting)

TapeCutter (624760) | about a year ago | (#43879679)

I've known two people who have had it in a bad way, both had adverse reactions to dope (a good indicator), neither was violent although their behavior sometimes made people very uncomfortable. One of them went missing a decade ago in the bush, they found his car but he is still missing. Both of them had a very difficult time trying to lead a normal life. One contracted it in his late teens, the other in her mid-thirties, for both of them the onset came at the same time as an emotional crisis (breaking up with someone they loved).

I myself have had auditory and visual hallucinations several times ( from staying awake for 3-4 days ) the auditory ones happen when it's quiet and it's always someone saying my name. It's kinda freaky and fascinating at the same time because it doesn't sound like "a voice in your head", it sounds like someone is in the room with you. I can't imagine how freaky it must be to have full blown conversations with it on a regular basis.

Re:Why Harm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43881007)

As long as you realize that it's in your head, it would be pretty damn awesome to have a full blown conversation with it on a regular basis. You always have a buddy around that talks to you, gives you ideas to which you do not necessary have to listen after all, it's your body, Seems pretty damn awesome.

Re:Why Harm? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43879761)

At least two: Sickle cell anemia [sciencedaily.com] provides resistance against malaria. Hemochromatosis can be beneficial for people at risk of anemia from insufficient iron in their diet (and might provide some resistance against tuberculosis). [wordpress.com]

Re:Why Harm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43880439)

There are probably variations of the causative genotypes that confer benefits. Like sickle cell, where heterozygous patients are immune to malaria but without most of the severe side effects of the homozygous positive. It may also result from two beneficial mutations that are mutually incompatible, probably in neurotransmitter regulation or an ion channel

Re:Why Harm? (2, Interesting)

flandre (1278778) | about a year ago | (#43879161)

I believe that certain people who are in pain, who feel they have been wronged, or are vengeful for past events, angry at the unfairness of their lives or are otherwise suffering from clinical depression, feel inclined to inflict this pain outwards as a coping mechanism. By far it's not the right direction, and I think that those neurotransmitters which give us our various moods and emotions are partially involved in the way that the voices interact with and direct you.

I'm not a violence-prone person, so they never tell me to hurt people, but they do cheer me on when I'm successful in a project, collaborate on the best course of action when I am worried or someone I care about is troubled, berate me (...and endlessly, at that) when I make mistakes or when I'm depressed, and such.

Re:Why Harm? (2)

budgenator (254554) | about a year ago | (#43879447)

Does anyone know why schizophrenia svoices always seem to try and cause harm? Why don't the voices tell you to clean your house, volunteer for something, build a house, do something good?

Because then it would be Divine revelations, well at least in modern times, in olden times Divine revelations were very sadistic and narcissistic.

Re:Why Harm? (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about a year ago | (#43879535)

Does anyone know why schizophrenia svoices always seem to try and cause harm? Why don't the voices tell you to clean your house, volunteer for something, build a house, do something good?

Because you don't need to make excuses for cleaning your house, or volunteering, or doing good in general. If your voices are saying that sort of thing, and your wife says "thank you for cleaning out the garage finally! Let's have a celebratory screw!", you're not going to say "nah, wasn't me, really - the Voices in my head have been nagging me about it for months...or was that you?"

Re:Why Harm? (0)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#43879597)

Does anyone know why schizophrenia svoices always seem to try and cause harm?

I don't think that is true. It is just that those are the cases that you hear about. The schizo serial killer makes the 11 o'clock news. The schizo that manages to hold down a job as a web developer does not. I have a cousin with schizophrenia, and he says that most of the voices are just gibberish. They are also occasionally musical, with singing and sometimes background music. Sometimes his voices even make jokes. He puts up with the voices because anti-psychotic medication numbs his mind so much that they make him an unemployable zombie.

Re:Why Harm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43879729)

But paranoid thoughts--and thus, voices--are still far more prevalent than in the general population. Paranoia is a very deep-seated emotion. We all feel it regularly, it's just that some people cannot suppress it as well, and schizophrenics as a class squarely fall on the "not as well" end of the spectrum.

Re:Why Harm? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43879935)

Posting as AC because I was diagnosed with schizophrenia a couple of years ago and lived with it long before I knew what it was.

Short answer: they don't.

These cases get more attention partially because the stories are more exciting and that's what grabs people's attention. You aren't going to see news articles about someone hallucinating about the sound of a window sliding closed, but you will hear about someone who ran into a highly populated area and wrecked havoc because the voices told them so. Auditory hallucinations can be anything from nonverbal sounds to compliments to insults to orders to gibberish.

That said, there is a tendency for the the voices to be negative. From my own experience with the disorder and from talking with a few others who have dealt with it, I believe that the negativity is brought on from whatever incident or on-going circumstance brought on the disorder. My psychiatrist told me that there are some people born with a genetic predisposition towards the disease, but that most of the time, there needs to be a traumatic event for the symptoms of the disease to manifest. This was certainly true in my case and after a few years of looking back and learning to cope, I can see how much of what the voices told me are related to my personal trigger event.

So that's my $0.02, but it's not quite the same in any two people so YMMV.

If you're interested in the subject, my therapist recommended the book Surviving Schizophrenia: A Manual for Families, Patients, and Providers [amazon.com] by Dr. E. Fuller Torrey. It's a little on the thick side, but it was incredibly helpful to me when I was coming to grips with my reality being turned on it's head.

Re:Why Harm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43880811)

"This was certainly true in my case and after a few years of looking back and learning to cope, I can see how much of what the voices told me are related to my personal trigger event."

So after lots of rationalizing and prompting, you finally agreed with your psychiatrist's pet theory?

It's ridiculous to think that a traumatic emotional event would bring on such a generalized disorder--one with strong and predictable patterns, including pattern of onset based on age. It may make sense that _given_ the disorder such tragic events might figure large among otherwise negative and paranoid thoughts, but that's something else entirely. Just like dreaming, the brain does not conjure imagery out of whole cloth--it uses our memory as raw material to provide form. Thus, our memory of prior events will always color and add texture to our thoughts. I'll give your psychiatrist props for helping to bring you to a place where you can at least recognize that. Most people are completely oblivious to this, and of course some people are unable to fully comprehend it--that is, accept and integrate the idea to help change their behavior.

Re:Why Harm? (1)

siride (974284) | about a year ago | (#43880933)

Read the post again. He said that the disease is still a disease, but the onset of the symptoms is often caused by traumatic events, and the nature of those events may color the nature of the hallucinations.

Re:Why Harm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43881117)

Same AC that you responded to.

"This was certainly true in my case and after a few years of looking back and learning to cope, I can see how much of what the voices told me are related to my personal trigger event."

So after lots of rationalizing and prompting, you finally agreed with your psychiatrist's pet theory?

It's ridiculous to think that a traumatic emotional event would bring on such a generalized disorder--one with strong and predictable patterns, including pattern of onset based on age. It may make sense that _given_ the disorder such tragic events might figure large among otherwise negative and paranoid thoughts, but that's something else entirely. Just like dreaming, the brain does not conjure imagery out of whole cloth--it uses our memory as raw material to provide form. Thus, our memory of prior events will always color and add texture to our thoughts. I'll give your psychiatrist props for helping to bring you to a place where you can at least recognize that. Most people are completely oblivious to this, and of course some people are unable to fully comprehend it--that is, accept and integrate the idea to help change their behavior.

Actually, my psychiatrist never said anything about the hallucinations being tied back to what triggered my disease manifesting. He let me come to that conclusion on my own. Plus, I'd come to a more general recognition of this truth long before I was diagnosed, I just hadn't linked it back with all the symptoms of my disorder until awhile after. Now, I know it's not that ground breaking of a point, but I hadn't seen it posted yet and I never expected to get any awards for /. posts.

If you want the full story I thought that the past influencing current and future perceptions was common sense. (Your post somewhat confirms this in my mind, so thank you for that.) This set me back a little bit in coming to grips with what I was going through because it took me a long time to see how they were related. I don't know about everyone's case, but for me, my hallucinations weren't cut and dry memories resurfacing. What I saw and heard was abstract to the point where it took about 18 months of digging and soul searching to connect it back to my past.

As for agreeing with someone's "pet theory", I'm a paranoid schizophrenic. Trust doesn't exactly come easy to me. It took hearing it from three independent sources for me to accept the "genetic predisposition with trigger" part as a recognized theory.

Re:Why Harm? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about a year ago | (#43879985)

Its an interesting question. I sometimes hear voices as a result of epileptic seizures but they are invariably replays of common things which I hear, like a close relative saying "don't forget the milk" or some such.

Re:Why Harm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43881209)

As with most things - not always. I remember hearing voices as a child. Those were typically people I knew - my mother or sister saying just one or two words to me - very loud and very clear - from somewhere above me and to the right - except that there is nobody there. I dismissed it as them playing tricks on me and found it all rather annoying. However, I can understand that some people will interpret that sort of thing as the Great Zeus talking to them from the House of Circ.

More bullshit (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43879069)

There is no such thing as 'schizophrenia', and the laughable "The voices in my head told me to do it" excuse is the type of nonsense that only a five year old would take seriously.

Let me see - a neurotic scumbag wants to kill somebody - so he uses the oldest 'get out of jail free' card in the book - it was the 'voices in his head' that 'told' him to do it! So he HAD to do it! See the logic? Neither did I. Because there IS no logic to this bullshit, so how come so many cretins keep spouting this nonsense as if it's somehow true?

If a man comes up to you in the street and says 'go and murder that woman over there', do you feel 'compelled' to do so? So how much less important are 'the voices in your head' compared to a REAL person telling you to do something?

This bullshit excuse continues because most people are obviously so stupid that they can't even think it through for two minutes.

So what if 'the voices in your head' told you to do something? How are you FORCED to do it?

"The voices in my head" - getting brutal murderers out of a (fully justified) death sentence since 1964. (Or whatever date some dumbass came up with this stupidity as his defence).

Let me repeat - there is no such thing as a PHYSICAL disorder called 'schizophrenia'. What is called 'schizophrenia' is simply a set of OBSERVABLE BEHAVIOURS which are caused by childhood abuse - i.e. by having assholes for parents. There is NO evidence whatsoever that anybody is 'born that way'. But then, in order to look at the suffering of a child, you have to be able to face your own suffering, and most people find it far easier to avoid doing that by making out there is a 'genetic disorder' yadda yadda yadda. Truly sickening.

Re:More bullshit (2)

flandre (1278778) | about a year ago | (#43879245)

As one who hears voices, I agree on the point that you don't have to do what they tell you to. Even the tiniest bit of self-control takes precedent, and one would not jump off of a bridge if someone told them to unless they were very seriously mentally compromised.

From what I've been told, it's only diagnosed as 'schizophrenia' if the voices uncontrollably causes one to harm himself or others. I assume that some people do what the voices are obsessing over just to get them to shut up.

Re:More bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43879449)

From what I've been told, it's only diagnosed as 'schizophrenia' if the voices uncontrollably causes one to harm himself or others. I assume that some people do what the voices are obsessing over just to get them to shut up.

Eh harm has nothing to do with the diagnosis of schizophrenia. Not all schizophrenics even hear voices and not all people who hear voices are schizophrenics. Schizophrenia basically means your mind works differently from the rest of the world. IE you don't express emotions properly or you have disorganized thoughts. Hearing voices means you're hallucinating, not that you are schizophrenic.

Re:More bullshit (4, Interesting)

TapeCutter (624760) | about a year ago | (#43879841)

So when I gave my wife's friend (whom I didn't know was schizophrenic) a half a joint to calm her down because she was upset, according to you she was acting when she went wandering around my yard pulling her hair out because she was planning to kill someone? Schizophrenia has both genetic and environmental causes, you have a much greater chance of having it if a relative has it, for example if your twin has it you chances of having it are 40%, However it normally doesn't appear until after puberty and it's onset is usually associated with an emotional crisis, such as a divorce. The woman mentioned above "didn't have it" until she was in her mid-thirties.

BTW: Your OBSERVABLE lack of empathy and anger about this could be some sort a mental illness, I'd get that checked out if I were you.

mirror therapy (1)

Dr. Tom (23206) | about a year ago | (#43879075)

This is like the mirror therapy used for phantom limb patients. Using a mirror they can "see" their phantom limb and regain control of it. Very cool.

Re:mirror therapy (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about a year ago | (#43879949)

Very cool.

Indeed. I also wonder how effective it would be if they used real humans instead of avatars?

Schizophrenia is.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43879139)

... at best, an outdated term, full of stigma from the last millennium. I suffer from a mild variant of this disease (which is actually an umbrella-diagnosis for a thousand different psychiatric disorders), and my psychiatrist calls it "A thought disorder" - Much easier to swallow for others than the term schizophrenia, which has all sorts of negative associations. I happen to hold a steady job in a creative field, and nobody at my workplace has any idea of my disorder, and even though my disorder falls under the general term "Schizophrenia", I really don't like having that term pinned to me. Simply, because it is so hard for people to understand what it's like.

A rose by any other name... (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about a year ago | (#43880303)

I've known two bad cases of schizophrenia (who could not hold onto a job), the negativity comes from the effect it can have on the person, not the word itself. Unfortunately the bottom line in society is that if your mind behaves "strangely" then others will shun you, if your body behaves strangely (say, cancer) then others will act with compassion, provided it's not contagious (eg:leprosy). On the bright side I think there is a lot more compassion and understanding toward "thought disorders" today than when I grew up in the 60's.

Changing the name is at best temporary relief from the stigma, the new term will eventually pick up the same stigma as the old one. As a "functioning schizophrenic" you have the opportunity to change people's attitudes by example, I understand it takes a great deal of courage to do that but you will never change anyone's attitude by "staying in the closet". For example when I think of Stephen Fry, I think educated, witty, curios, homosexual, intelligent, atheist, bipolar, introspective, honest and open, which when all rolled together creates an interesting and likeable personality.

Re:A rose by any other name... (1)

Culture20 (968837) | about a year ago | (#43880751)

if your mind behaves "strangely" then others will shun you, if your body behaves strangely (say, cancer) then others will act with compassion, provided it's not contagious

That's because most people recognize that mental behavior is almost always contagious to some degree. We're our genes and our memes.

Is that you Mr Hat? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43879329)

Is that you Mr Hat?

Let's Clear This Now (5, Informative)

denmarkw00t (892627) | about a year ago | (#43879391)

I've already read enough comments of people not knowing what or how schizophrenia is - it's not just voices (or always involving voices in general). The National Institute for Mental Health has this nice little bit to get you all up to a half-educated level:

- What are the symptoms of schizophrenia?
The symptoms of schizophrenia fall into three broad categories: positive symptoms, negative symptoms, and cognitive symptoms.

- Positive symptoms
Positive symptoms are psychotic behaviors not seen in healthy people. People with positive symptoms often "lose touch" with reality. These symptoms can come and go. [...] They include the following:
Hallucinations are things a person sees, hears, smells, or feels that no one else can see, hear, smell, or feel. "Voices" are the most common type of hallucination in schizophrenia. Many people with the disorder hear voices. [...]

Delusions are false beliefs that are not part of the person's culture and do not change. The person believes delusions even after other people prove that the beliefs are not true or logical. People with schizophrenia can have delusions that seem bizarre, such as believing that neighbors can control their behavior with magnetic waves. [...]

Thought disorders are unusual or dysfunctional ways of thinking. One form of thought disorder is called "disorganized thinking." This is when a person has trouble organizing his or her thoughts or connecting them logically. They may talk in a garbled way that is hard to understand. Another form is called "thought blocking. [...]

- Negative symptoms
Negative symptoms are associated with disruptions to normal emotions and behaviors. These symptoms are harder to recognize as part of the disorder and can be mistaken for depression or other conditions.

These symptoms include the following:
- "Flat affect" (a person's face does not move or he or she talks in a dull or monotonous voice)
- Lack of pleasure in everyday life
- Lack of ability to begin and sustain planned activities
- Speaking little, even when forced to interact.

People with negative symptoms need help with everyday tasks. They often neglect basic personal hygiene. This may make them seem lazy or unwilling to help themselves, but the problems are symptoms caused by the schizophrenia.

- Cognitive symptoms
Cognitive symptoms are subtle. Like negative symptoms, cognitive symptoms may be difficult to recognize as part of the disorder. Often, they are detected only when other tests are performed. Cognitive symptoms include the following:
- Poor "executive functioning" (the ability to understand information and use it to make decisions)
- Trouble focusing or paying attention
- Problems with "working memory" (the ability to use information immediately after learning it).

Edited down, for some brevity. Full text here [nih.gov]
Cognitive symptoms often make it hard to lead a normal life and earn a living. They can cause great emotional distress.

Re:Let's Clear This Now (2)

oldhack (1037484) | about a year ago | (#43879759)

Yes, informative in demonstrating psychiatry is load a crap - pile upon piles of ambiguous, infinitely stretchable verbiage.

Re:Let's Clear This Now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43879979)

Like every other mental illness schizophrenia is classified with symptoms that every person on earth can suffer from...

Re:Let's Clear This Now (1)

RedHackTea (2779623) | about a year ago | (#43880615)

I would mod you up if Johnny would let me.

Re:Let's Clear This Now (1)

steelfood (895457) | about a year ago | (#43880319)

They often neglect basic personal hygiene.

I knew it! Everyone here is schizo!

In all seriousness though, there's some correlation between creativity and certain mental disorders, like and especially forms of schizophrenia. It wouldn't surprise me in the least if most geeks have it to some degree.

Re:Let's Clear This Now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43880869)

People who take Adderall, Ritalin, or Modafinil--all of which help to increase single-task concentration--will tell you that creativity is diminished. Writers will tell you that alcohol can help grease the wheels of their imagination.

It would appear that to be creative your train of thought needs to be less than smooth running. Because one of the hallmarks of autistic behavior is single-track and--in several forms downright obsessive--thinking, autistics and autistic-like people certainly aren't considered particularly creative.

People suffering from bipolar suffer from obsessive thinking, but it's the transitions that matter in terms of creativity, while productivity depends on focus. Those with bipolar experience both---extreme transitions followed by obsessive focus. If the person is also endowed with above average intelligence, then amazing things are more likely to happen. (As well as tragic things, unfortunately.)

Re:Let's Clear This Now (1)

idunham (2852899) | about a year ago | (#43880503)

Thanks for pointing that out...I was wondering if I would need to.
One of my brothers has what is currently diagnosed as schizophrenia, since he started coming up with stories that had no connection to reality. These are all "memories" of events that didn't happen, with few or no hallucinations.
Before that, they called it Asperger's or high-functioning autism; supposedly, the presence or absence of delusions and hallucinations is what differentiates those.

Now, I'm inclined to figure that a system that can change its diagnosis completely on manifestation of a new symptom, and differentiates solely on the basis of one set of characteristics, is labeling rather than classifying. If someone autistic developed an unrelated problem causing hallucinations (got ergot in their bread? ended up getting fumes of the wrong stuff?), suddenly they aren't autistic, they're schizo--but who can show that you're not seeing the intersection of autism and something else? Oh right, I forgot:

The strength of each of the editions of DSM has been âoereliabilityâ â" each edition has ensured that clinicians use the same terms in the same ways. The weakness is its lack of validity.

Guardian (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43879403)

Avatar! Know that Britannia has entered into a new age of enlightenment. Know that the time has finally come for the one true Lord of Britannia to take his place at the head of his people! Under my guidance, Britannia will flourish, and all the people shall rejoice and pay homage to their new... Guardian! Know that you, too, shall kneel before me, Avatar. You, too, shall soon acknowledge my authority - for I shall be your companion... your provider... and your master!

Other Helpful Innovations... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43879431)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FzoXQKumgCw

Avatars (1)

steelfood (895457) | about a year ago | (#43879493)

I guess they bring balance to people's heads too.

I was going to post but Im in two minds about it (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43879595)

rimshot.

Remotely-Controlled Underware (1)

pipingguy (566974) | about a year ago | (#43879619)

Does this mean I shouldn't invest in sock puppets?

Hope to God the Avatar isn't a WoW freak (1)

servognome (738846) | about a year ago | (#43879671)

"Odd groups left... even groups got right... get away from the head... whelps left side, many whelps... WTF was that shit..." That'd definitely make me want to murder somebody

Shadows of Oblivion! (1)

virgnarus (1949790) | about a year ago | (#43879889)

I can see this being very effective. If I had to deal with a bunch of those ugly mugs from Elder Scrolls: Oblivion all over again, I'd want them out of my head and out of my life too!

Microsoft Was Ahead of Their Time (3, Funny)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about a year ago | (#43879963)

Who knew that microsoft Bob was really just a manifestation of your inner dummy?

It helped when... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43879987)

It helped when I realized that those voices in my head were actually radio stations I was picking up through the implant. I came to understand that they would argue and say stuff but they weren't really talking to me since it was just a general broadcast. Since I figured this out I've been able to resist the urge to kill, kill, kill, usually.

Misread the headline (1)

quantaman (517394) | about a year ago | (#43880243)

At first glance I thought it said Avatars Help Schizophrenics Gain Control of Vehicles with Their Heads

Needless to say upon re-reading the headline I was sorely disappointed.

My Precious? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43880285)

Hmmmmm

Get Into It (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43880533)

We look at schizophrenics and derisively note that they "hear voices". That they are too mentally weak to discern that the voices come from within their own heads. Now imagine that you actually hear those voices. Imagine them? You wish. No, a booming, thundering, Jovian voice is shouting right into your face, "You are no good! You might as well go throw yourself into the ocean!" Or worse yet, "Your sister is evil. You have to kill her, or she will kill you and many others." And not once, but over and over and over and over again. Until you are defenseless. Until you are exhausted. Until you can do nothing but what your voices insist. And then they call YOU crazy.

No, I've never heard a voice. Not a one. Not even when I was baptized in the spirit by some bullshit Pentecostals. But how can anyone doubt that the voices that schizophrenics hear are less real to them than those of their caregivers?

But the voices are mostly unseen. Imagine, again, someone screaming at you whom you cannot see. Screaming right into your ear, yet you cannot turn and look at them. And so I do not doubt that putting computer-generated faces to those voices can be therapeutic.

Re:Get Into It (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43881207)

Not even when I was baptized in the spirit by some bullshit Pentecostals.

Been there. Done that.

In my younger years, I was very prone to take other people's testimonies as fact. With both parents also steeped in religion, I took it as a given, without proof, based solely on hearsay.

However, the antics of those who claimed they were "filled" with some kind of special spirit led me to question religion.

This has been a major conundrum for me. I see all around me and I have concluded that it, like music and art, is a deliberately designed phenomena - but who the designer is eludes me - and obviously eludes everyone else too.

Its also painfully obvious to me that our world is filled with those who see this and first thing they try to do is monetize it by claiming everyone else owes them a "tithe" because they get a microphone and amplifier and carry on ( often at painfully loud volumes ). These loudmouth beggars have ruined organized religion for me.

Since becoming aware of Schizophrenia, I have often pondered if religion was founded by schizophrenics. I keep looking for any special traits of compassion in people claiming to be "God's chosen", but I usually find the same kind of stuff I usually associate with the Nazis, that is blind unquestioning obedience to authority.

Generally, I find them to be beggars as well, expecting society to meet their needs while they provide windbag services.

Although I do fear God may consider my posting such as this a sin, I note even Jesus had problems with the organized religions, and its a possibility I have it right and the people behind the kilowatt amplifiers and begging bowls are nothing more than noisy windbags... wolves in sheep's clothing thinking just a few more decibels through the sound system may break someone down into becoming a lifelong tithe-slave for their organization.

I note the Bible says God hated Esau and loved Jacob... and what did Esau do? He gave his birthrights away for a bowl of porridge. Am I giving my birthrights away just because the microphone man says so?

I know where the microphone man gets his power.... Edison.

browncoat (1)

Katchu (1036242) | about a year ago | (#43880573)

"Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal"

But ... (1)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#43880781)

... my avatar is Jack Nicholson carrying a fire axe.

6000 years too late (2)

kanweg (771128) | about a year ago | (#43881275)

Abraham heard the voice of god. Or he may have been suffering from a disorder such as schizophrenia. Which is more likely... .

If my guess is correct, I wish he had had such an avatar. It would have saved the world quite a bit of misery now.

Bert

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