Schizotypy, Anyone?

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Incidentally, today is World Mental Health Day 2014. This year’s World Mental Health Day shines a light on schizophrenia. At least 26 million people are living with schizophrenia worldwide according to the World Health Organization, and many more are indirectly affected by it.

Recent scientific research shows that people in artistic or scientific professions (dancers, researchers, artists, photographers) more often than the general population suffer from mental illness, with a significant connection between writers and schizophrenia.

 

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Patient: “Sometimes I think the wall is moving.” Doctor: “Cut down on drinking.”

For the study, researchers tracked almost 1.2 million patients and their relatives, identified down to second-cousin level.

The findings reveal that bipolar disorder is more prevalent in the entire group. 

Authors, however, more commonly suffer from the other mental disorders — including schizophrenia, depression, anxiety syndrome and substance abuse — and are almost 50 percent more likely to commit suicide than the general population.

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Creative professions are more common in the relatives of patients with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, anorexia nervosa and, to some extent, autism.

The findings suggest that mental disorders should be viewed in a new light.

“If one takes the view that certain phenomena associated with the patient’s illness are beneficial, it opens the way for a new approach to treatment,” said Simon Kyaga, consultant in psychiatry and doctoral student at the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics.

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“In that case, the doctor and patient must come to an agreement on what is to be treated, and at what cost. In psychiatry and medicine generally there has been a tradition to see the disease in black-and-white terms and to endeavor to treat the patient by removing everything regarded as morbid.”

Here is an excerpt from Schizotypy, Flow, and the Artist’s Experience, an article in Psychology Today:

In a recent study reported in Schizophrenia Bulletin, Nelson and Rawlings propose that a mild form of schizophrenia called schizotypy may be positively associated with the experience of creative flow. Schizophrenia is a debilitating mental illness that affects roughly 1% of the population and involves altered states of consciousness and “abnormal” perceptual experiences. Schizotypy, which is a watered-down version of schizophrenia, consists of a constellation of personality traits that are evident in some degree in everyone.

Do you have any of the following “traits”?

  • A cold or inappropriate affect
  • Anhedonia
  • Odd or eccentric behaviour
  • A tendency to social withdrawal
  • Paranoid or bizarre ideas not amounting to true delusions
  • Obsessive ruminations
  • Thought disorder and perceptual disturbances
  • Occasional transient quasi-psychotic episodes with intense illusions, auditory or other hallucinations, and delusion-like ideas, usually occurring without external provocation

Are you going mad? You might check you eves. Might as well, you are a schizotypical creative genius experiencing a flow. Have fun while it lasts!

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