Schizophrenia, is this a cause in murder cases; mass slaughter?


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Schizophrenia was discussed in a New York Times op-ed on Christmas Day. The opinion piece was authored by psychiatrist, Paul Steinberg and gave an enlightening look into the mind of mentally ill persons and his thoughts on the recent mass killings.

The following is an excerpt from his article, the complete story is available HERE

“Psychosis” — a loss of touch with reality — is an umbrella term, not unlike “fever.” As with fevers, there are many causes, from drugs and alcohol to head injuries and dementias. The most common source of severe psychosis in young adults is schizophrenia, a badly named disorder that, in the original Greek, means “split mind.” In fact, schizophrenia has nothing to do with multiple personality, a disorder that is usually caused by major repeated traumas in childhood. Schizophrenia is a physiological disorder caused by changes in the prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain that is essential for language, abstract thinking and appropriate social behavior. This highly evolved brain area is weakened by stress, as often occurs in adolescence.

Psychiatrists and neurobiologists have observed biochemical changes and alterations in brain connections in patients with schizophrenia. For example, miscommunications between the prefrontal cortex and the language area in the temporal cortex may result in auditory hallucinations, as well as disorganized thoughts. When the voices become commands, all bets are off. The commands might insist, for example, that a person jump out of a window, even if he has no intention of dying, or grab a set of guns and kill people, without any sense that he is wreaking havoc. Additional symptoms include other distorted thinking, like the notion that something — even a spaceship, or a comic book character — is controlling one’s thoughts and actions.

Intense public education about how to deal with schizophrenia; greater willingness to seek involuntary commitment of those who pose a threat to themselves or others; and greater incentives for psychiatrists (and other mental health professionals) to treat the disorder, rather than less dangerous conditions.

Too many people with acute schizophrenia have gone untreated. There have been too many Glocks, too many kids and adults cut down in their prime. Enough already.

I certainly agree with psychiatrist Paul Steinberg.

The Op-Ed story identifies Paul Steinberg as a psychiatrist in private practice.

4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by WordsFallFromMyEyes on December 26, 2012 at 8:01 pm

    Untreated schizophrenia is a frightful thought – and that is from me, who has seen many episodes of my sister’s, before she’s settled with medication, time out in hospitals etc. To think anyone is out there with it, who could be levelled out so they can engage with society but are not… that really is horrific to me.

    V. interesting post, Ray’s Mom.

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    • Thank you for your input. I have fear that a person can have contact with out children (a teacher) or baby sitter and no know they may suffer from a mental illness.

      God bless.

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  2. There are so many drive-by shootings in Miami they seldom make the 6 o’clock news let alone the newspaper. My daughter and family were not hit in two a night apart several weeks ago. The sad thing is that children here know it is just a possibility of daily living and that should not be. Part of gang initiation is shooting someone, anyone for no reason. Cops are pretty trigger happy too and 7 questionable shootings of black young men from 2010 remain “internal investigation”.

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    • I know the “internal investigation” excuse for shelving the case. This post has a link to the rest of the story on NY Times. Well worth the read. He has some good ideas. But when parental rights, moral education, accountability and pray have been outlawed there isn’t much left.

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      Reply

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