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We all have an inner dialogue inside our mind - reminding yourself to pay your cellphone
bill, or even rehearsing a tough conversation with a friend. But what if that voice becomes
voices that are out of your control?
Psychologist Julian Jaynes proposed a theory that, not so long ago all humans heard voices
- created internally from the right hemisphere of the brain, but perceived as external from
the left hemisphere (bicameralism). As a result these voices were perceived as communication
from the gods. But around 1000 BC, with the rise of modern consciousness, these voices
became recognized as our own. Some psychiatrists believe that the brains of schizophrenic people
may revert to this state, and not recognize some of their thoughts as their own.
Schizophrenia is a disease of the nervous system, affecting approximately 1% of the
population. To be clear, schizophrenia is not the same as having ‘multiple personality
disorder’. Symptoms often include hallucinations: from seeing things that aren’t there, to
delusions such as a higher belief in conspiracy, higher rates of depression, and most notably
hearing voices. Auditory hallucinations occur in many disorders - from simple sounds to
words or names being called - but the voices heard in schizophrenics are quite different.
They are often associated with their current mental state, and can be quite hostile, accusing,
threatening or persecuting (58); ultimately embodying many of their fears.
A 2006 study of over 3000 schizophrenic patients found that genes related to immune function
may play a role - specifically the complement component 4 or C4 genes. C4 is a gene involved
in trimming the synapses in the brain; for example, teenage brains undergo a process
known as ‘synaptic pruning’ in which unused connections are cut away to aid in our brains
efficiency. But in individuals with schizophrenia, this C4 gene may be overactive and cut down
areas that are involved in planning, cognition and thinking. Links have also made between
microbes in the gut - after all, the microbes that live within us have also been shown to
modulate immune response and impact brain development. One study found that lactic acid
bacteria were significantly more abundant in people with schizophrenia, while another
found that the prevalence of lipid and glucose abnormalities is much higher in patients with schizophrenia.
And while diagnosing schizophrenia is primarily based on behavior and reported experiences,
research has found the cause to be a combination of these genetic factors along with some environmental
stressors like growing up in an urbanized area, minority group position, and even cannabis
use as THC can exaggerate psychotic response in some individuals with genetic risk or developmental trauma.
Currently, medication for schizophrenia mostly focuses on combating hallucinations and delusions
but, unfortunately, 49.5% of schizophrenia patients don’t end up taking their medicine.
This is why genetic research is so important to combatting this disease. Of course, some
people can and do recover through a combination of medication, counselling and support which
can greatly reduce the symptoms.
On AsapTHOUGHT we talk about how mental health stigma is a serious issue in our culture and
the media. Many of us negatively contribute to the stereotyping of mental illness without
even realizing it - so we break down 5 ways we can all reduce mental health stigma right
now. Check it out with the link below.
And special thanks to audible for supporting this episode to give you a free 30 day trial
at audible.com/asap. This week we wanted to recommend the book “Schizophrenia: Understanding
Symptoms Diagnosis & Treatment” which tackles much of the stigma tied to schizophrenia and
how it affects those with the condition. You can get a free 30 day trial at audible.com/asap
and choose from a massive selection! We love them as they are great when you’re on the go.
And subscribe for more weekly science videos!
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What If You Hear Voices In Your Head?

11910 Folder Collection
韓澐 published on February 2, 2017    Julie Tu translated    Mandy Lin reviewed
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