August 15, 2007

New UK Study Confirms that stigma still surrounds mental illness

According to 'Crying Shame', a new report published by the Priory Group, mental illness and perceptions of sufferers are still shrouded in stigma, fear and ignorance. The full 30 page report is available for download here (pdf file).

In The Scottsman newspaper, it was reported that:

"Dr Alex Yellowlees, medical director at the Priory Hospital Glasgow, says: "We are most likely to stigmatise what we fear or don't understand. Mental illnesses are genuine medical conditions, which affect the whole person - mind, brain and body.

"Our understanding of them is constantly increasing and more effective help and treatment are now available more than ever before."

"We hope this new report will raise widespread awareness of the shocking stigma that still surrounds mental illness and encourage people to be more accepting of sufferers."

New research commissioned by the Priory Group reveals that 72% of adults in the United Kingdom think that there is a stigma associated with having a mental illness and describe people with a mental illness as unpredictable (79%), dangerous (50%) and scary (49%).

Most damningly, 77% of adults state that the media does not do a good job in educating people about mental illness and 76% say that the media does not do a good job in de-stigmatising mental illness.

Consultant psychiatrist Dr. Natasha Bijlani at the Priory Hospital Roehampton says, 'Mental illness does not respect age, sex, marital status, class or region, which means that anyone, at any point in their lives, can become mentally ill. Susceptibility to mental illness is part of the human condition - no one is immune. We must stop being judgmental about people with mental illness. Mental illnesses are real illnesses, just like cancer, diabetes or arthritis.'

Interestingly, 59% of the sample believe that alcohol or drug addiction is a serious mental illness like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or depression.

Positive perceptions

Unusually, the Priory Group's research showed that 65% of the sample describe people with a mental illness as intelligent and 63% as kind, while 76% said that they did not think mental illness was the result of some type of personal weakness.

'Psychiatric patients are scared, and scarred, by their diagnoses,' says Dr. Bijlani. 'They are usually terrified at their initial consultation and feel that they are blamed for their illness in a way that other patients, say those who require orthopedic surgery, are not. We hope that this new report will raise widespread awareness of the shocking stigma that still surrounds mental illness and encourage people to be more accepting of sufferers. Stigma is borne out of fear and ignorance. Stigma is created, not inherent, and it can and must be eradicated.'

Source: Priory Group, UK


Why does this not surprise me in the least, when this lot are suggesting on criminalizing mentally ill people, and forcing them to take their medication etc... when released from hospital. Its moronic to say the least.

The first thing to do is to ban any news on mentally ill people and crimes, and focus on people who achieve like Nash etc. And dig into the backgrounds of Enstein who had a Schizophrenic son, and Bertrand Russell whose family was plagued by mental illness. There is a lot of interesting things people can talk about other than violence and mental illness.
Promote do not demote!

Posted by: Max at August 15, 2007 01:08 PM

The english tabloid press often run stories e.g. "dangerous schizoprenic nutcase" having committed crimes when the incidence of violent persons undergoing acute psychosis is a number of orders of magnitude less than alchoholics whom viciously attack countless innocent people every friday and saturday night and whom have a choice about their intoxication whereas schizophrenics don't and need the help that probably wasn't given to them before they got really ill. The facts are that it is an illness of crippling stress and degredation and as soon as you are diagnosed you will want to take the treatment the ward off such symptoms. The tabloid press also conveys the false message that the "schizos" have deliberately thought themselves into being evil and that schizophrenia (a mental illness) and psychopathy (a personality disorder) are one and the same which they are not.
The vast majority are loving, gentle and scared people who are more at risk from the general population than the other way around.
The media and tv are also frequently misusing the word schizophrenia in their false belief that the word means a split or a split personality, this is seen as trendy when all it does in reality is to name a dreadful mental illness and severely antagonise sufferers. The false notion of split may come from the latin schism but quite frankly that should be removed from the dictionary as the word Schizophrenia has nothing to do with split and should be treated with respect as one of the worst illnesses on the planet and we should not be pandering to latin scholars on this one.

Posted by: Matt at August 15, 2007 02:29 PM

Mind, rethink and a few other charities have just been given an 18 million lottery grant for an anti stigma campaign.. Apparently the anti stigma campaign in Scotland was pretty effective or so they tell us.

Posted by: Salty Davis at August 15, 2007 02:58 PM

Unfortunately mh policy in the UK is increasingly following the socially authoritarian right wing agenda of New Labour.

Posted by: Tim at August 15, 2007 03:21 PM

I'm interested in the possible correllation between REM sleep in regards to contributing, coinciding and predisposing factors for schizophrenia and psychosis.
Imagine that REM sleep is a process that occurs in the hippocampus and is like an airline control tower that is trying to organise the landing of airoplanes into a busy airport for a short period during the night while you are sleeping. The airoplanes represent many scattered emotions and non-concrete information that is spread throughout the perceptual areas of the brain . The landing of the planes is like the collection of random emotional data in the form of impulses , then sorting ,disposing or placing of data into emotional memory banks using previously stored emotional memories to assist the process.

Human research supports the function of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep in memory formation. German scientists at the University of Bamberg stated, "Results are consonant with a supportive function of REM sleep predominating late sleep for the formation of emotional memory in humans."
Studies with deep electrodes have established that while the EEG of the neocortex is low in voltage during the REM sleep state, the EEG of the hippocampus is increased in size at a 4-10 Hz (theta) frequency.

It is known that Successful REM sleep removes extranenous connections to D1 receptors. - CHECK THIS

Slowing of noradrenergic cells may be responsible for some of the symptoms of sleep deprivation, since norepinephrine release has been shown to increase the "signal to noise ratio" of information processing in a number of brain regions

I suggest that In shizophrenics, REM sleep is unable to successfully remove extraneous connections to D1 receptors, resulting in overabundance of connections. This leads to hallucinations and/or disorganized thoughts. Schizophrenics have too many D1 receptors [research in mid 90's confirms this, reasearch in mid 2000's contradicts this] so if REM sleep is not functioning properly for any individual, then psychosis occurs. The reason for malfunction would dictate the duration and type of psychosis.
Ie. Too much emotional data overloading REM, poor foundation memories needed for sorting. Poor quality fluid and chemical combinations creating difficult pathways for impulses to leave their point of origin and head towards the hippicampus.

The Multiple ascending neurotransmitter systems participate in the regulation of behavioral state. For example, noradrenergic, cholinergic and serotonergic systems increase EEG and, in
some cases, behavioral indices of arousal.
If the mechanism or chemical and electrical freeway that controls the process of REM is not functioning properly, could this cause psychosis, due to the possible overflow of stored emotions and non-concrete information? Could this be in the form of dreamlike perceptions spilling out onto our real or awake perceptual experiences that are sorted in a neighbouring area of the brain?.
Could this create a dream/nightmare state (Psychosis) that exists while awake?
Possible overloading reasons:
Sleep deprivation resulting in less REM sleep .
Perhaps the Rem Data could be too much for the REM mechanism to process during stressful times.
Ruminations that occur during periods of high anxiety might overload the REM process.
Double bind parenting could cause increased emotional stress and result in an overflowing Rem process.
Perhaps even hypersomnia during stressful times can be insufficient for the sorting out and emptying of the areas.
In schizophrenia and certain types of severe depression, the hippocampus shrinks.
Anxiety and depression can lead to psychosis due to an increase or overflow of the REM data sites.
Anxiety and wakening during sleep decrease the effective clearing of data sites because there is less REM sleep.
It's commonly known that sleep deprivation causes psychosis, if the Rem mechanism can't function due to lack of sleep, it overflows [rewrite]. Overloaded REM in a normal individual will spill out onto daytime wakening and perceptions in these circumstances,possibly in the areas they are waiting to be collected from.
Poorly functioning REM might result from nightmares which wake the person up and so they never actually continue with an adequate cleansing of the REM sites.
Possible reasons for REM mechanism failure .
Perhaps a genetic predisposition to a faulty mechanism .
A poorly functioning REM system could also be caused by dehydration, high fructose junk food, coca cola, coffee, cigarrettes, poor vitamin intake, low phosphorus levels. Higher levels of nutrients have been shown to affect REM and are linked to better sleep.
Some poorly functioning REM mechanisms could be caused by maternal infections during pregnancy , head injury or other illnesses during childhood.
Schizophrenia might occur after childhood because the REM takes a while to become overloaded. Perhaps in some cases of high chronic stress or low mood or poor sleep REM data never completely clears so it eventually floods certain areas of the brain, polluting perceptions while the individual is awake .
This could explain why prodromal schizophrenics withdraw and become socially autistic, perhaps the cloudiness they complain about is like a polluted stuffiness from over stuffed REM sites that interfer with the processes necessary for the person to take in external information and seperate it from their internal overflowing REM data sites.
Excessive intake of Junk food, high fructose diets, cola and coffee are common amongst Scizophrenics.Perhaps these diets adversly affect the mechanism or homeostasis required for emptying of the can. It could be as simple as chemical imbalances in the brain resulting in a poorly functioning REM mechanism or flow of impulses. Recently, considerable progress has been made in our understanding of the function and regulation of the brain-specific sodium-dependent inorganic phosphate transporter 1 (NPT1), which is found to exist principally in cerebrum and cerebellum. A high phosphate diet caused an increase in serum Pi accompanied by a decrease in calcium, and a decrease in body weight coupled with a decreased relative weight of cerebellum. A study showed the specific radioactivity of the phosphatides was depressed in sleeping as compared with waking animals. These observations suggest that the physiological conditions attributable to environmental, emotional or other determinants can influence shifts in brain metabolism during the sleep-wakefulness cycle.

* Regular coffee and caffeine caused REM sleep to shift to the early part of the night and stages 3 and 4 sleep to shift to the later part.
Infection can lead to psychosis . Fact: Sleep deprivation may enable bacterial growth and that sufficient sleep impedes bacterial growth.What's even more interesting is that di-muramyl peptides created during infection enhance non-REM sleep (but not REM sleep).

Other possible connections:
Siblings of schizophrenics often complain of vivid nightmares.
Post traumatic Stress disorder clients complain of terrible nightmares.
Antipschotis Medications that are sedating have a faster acting effect than non-sedating antipsychotics .
Some antidepressants can cause psychosis and some antidepressants have been shown to block REM sleep.
Hypersomnia may be the body's way to try to empty/sort the REM data, as is sometimes seen in mild depression or prodromal schizophrenia. Researchers from Quebec, Canada say sleeping late increases REM
It is rare to find a schizophrenic that doesn't smoke. Epidemiologic investigations indicate that, compared with never smokers, current smokers experience greater difficulty in initiating and maintaining sleep and are generally more dissatisfied with their sleep quality .
A series of human and animal investigations has suggested that altered expression and function of the {alpha}7-nicotinic cholinergic receptor may be responsible for the auditory sensory gating deficit characterized in schizophrenia patients and their relatives as diminished suppression of an auditory-evoked response (P50) to repeated stimuli.
The mechanism of sensory gating involves feed-forward and feed-back inhibition of the stimulus perceived. It involves GABA-ergic and α7 nicotinergic receptor-mediated inhibition of the pyramidal neurons in the cornu ammonis (CA3) region of the hippocampus. Nicotinergic receptors are effected by cigarette smoking.
Side effects of antipschotics can be parkisonian in nature. In recent studies it has been shown that smoking can protect you from parkinson's disease.
Some illicit drugs have been shown to decrease REM Sleep. Smoking marijuana can induce psychosis in certain populations (such as persons with schizophrenia) At low doses, marijuana may cause drowsiness, but at higher doses it seems to interfere with sleep. Specifically, it tends to decrease total REM time and also decrease eye movement during REM sleep.
A striking phenomenon is that the amount of REM sleep seen after such transections is a function of central temperature. Schizophrenia patients may exhibit thermoregulatory disturbances, resulting in increased or decreased body temperature.
ECT has been beneficial in treating psychosis perhaps only because it interfers with memory tasks in the brain. A decrease in recent memories decrease the load on the REM.
Several abnormalities have been documented in depressed patients such as: decreased sleep continuity (fragmented sleep), diminished slow wave sleep (NREM) and alterations of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, including decreased REM latency (too early onset), and increased REM density.
Results of objective polysomnographic studies showed that individuals with high anxiety and worries, even without depression or other psychiatric problems, have documented changes: It took them longer to fall asleep. When they sleep, the percentage of NREM sleep (that is a resting sleep in which growth hormone is released) is decreased with more frequent transitions from deep sleep to light sleep (stage 1 of NREM), more microarousals and a lower REM density (frequency of rapid eye movements per unit of time). (*needs quote refferrence)
Individuals who keep their stress levels low may become adults who seem excentric. If the Rem Data doesn't overflow maybe they are able to escape positive symptomology. Perhaps certain at risk individuals never get schizophrenia due to their low life stress levels despite a defective mechanism.
Depression does not always lead to psychosis possibly because anxiety and depression are purely an overflowing System and not a faulty one so therefore there is a good chance the person can go back to normal once the system is cleared and the stress decreased ..
Maybe some potential schizophrenics could have their schizophrenia risk lessened by picking out high risk children in schools and educating them about emotional and nutritional health, avoiding caffiene and illicit drugs . Perhaps using melatonin to promote REM sleep. Avoiding benzodiazepams and as an adolescent avoiding alcohol (Both of which suppress REM.)
Narcolepsy may be somehow related , the symptoms include...Cataplexy: sudden episodes of loss of muscle function, ranging from slight weakness (such as limpness at the neck or knees, sagging facial muscles, or inability to speak clearly) to complete body collapse. Attacks may be triggered by sudden emotional reactions such as laughter, anger or fear, and may last from a few seconds to several minutes. The person remains conscious throughout the episode. Sleep paralysis: temporary inability to talk or move when falling asleep or waking up. It may last a few seconds to minutes. Hypnagogic hallucinations: vivid, often frightening, dream-like experiences that occur while dozing or falling asleep.
REM sleep is present caudal to midbrain transections and absent rostral to such transections. Therefore, one may conclude that structures rostral to the midbrain are not required for REM sleep and that structures caudal to the midbrain are sufficient to generate REM sleep.
When the pons and caudal midbrain are connected to mid- and fore-brain structures, some signs of REM sleep are seen in these rostral structures. When the pons and caudal midbrain are connected to the medulla and spinal cord, as in the midbrain decerebrate animal, the defining signs of REM sleep are seen in caudal structures.
The pons and the caudal midbrain region are both necessary and sufficient to generate some of the basic phenomena of REM sleep.
Electrolytic lesions that destroyed the bulk of the RPO, permanently eliminated REM sleep
The lateral region (L2-4 in the cat) of the RPO, ventral to the locus coeruleus, is the brain region most critical for REM sleep.
it has been questioned that periodic cessation of discharge [during REM sleep] prevents desensitization of aminergic receptors, which are continuously activated in waking.

Posted by: Petr at August 16, 2007 03:24 AM

Wow that is some post petr i read it all i think i understood parts of it.

Posted by: Salty Davis at August 16, 2007 04:38 AM

Thanks Petr for the long but beneficial post. I am a bit of a biology whiz myself. And I have always found that sleep deprevation was key in the main cause of psychosis. I have been experimenting with Isocones to help stimulate natural sleep and it seems to work very well and i agree that there is no real way to catch up on sleep. Though i find that fish oils make it more tolerable. And it has less of an impact on my person.

Posted by: Max at August 16, 2007 12:54 PM

Hope that something is really done, educating the general population including the medical professionals regarding this stigma. Just not articles after article, but proper action is required.

Posted by: jena at August 17, 2007 03:50 AM

I would also like to add that people who describe themselves as 'creative' should be politely told to keep away from exploring mentally ill people lest they put back their recovery with ignorant ponderings which are then zapped into a million peoples minds, makes them a handy profit and gives them a cheap credibility in the eyes of everyone else.

First daft.

Posted by: Saatchi 45 at August 22, 2007 05:06 AM

I really think there should be a long study on how people with mental illnesses are capable just like the rest in society, to expostulate that we are not a load of leave eating, feces smearing, spiral obsessed lunatics.
We need to show how the upside as well! Creativity is always a bonus, Saatchi 45 you should check out to name two Boltzmann and Adolfus Wolfey. They are very interesting and its always good to see people who actually made something out of their bizarre ideas, who cares if some anal obsessed freak thinks they are pathological, most psychiatrists i know would fail the ink blot test!

Posted by: Max at August 24, 2007 09:50 AM

Oh, hello Max. Long time no see.

Hopefully we can make it to Edinburgh next year.

Posted by: Saatchi 45 at August 24, 2007 01:19 PM

Gods Cop lyrics for The Conservative Party, UK.

Posted by: Saatchi 43 at August 24, 2007 01:41 PM

Seems to me...although each person on this planet feels the right to be respected as an individual,there has, is and always will be, both those in this world who like to be seen in a certain class, group , religion etc , who prefer to speak of those that have been "put" in a class,group etc,deciding our fate virtually and de-humansing us to the point that those with mental health issues (disorder is a word which only hypocrits use) That have added the hardest of symptom in every type of M.H.. STIGMA!! Then there are people who along with that deal with ignorance of their sexuality, religion, ethnic background, lower-class satus, housing name a few.
And as for the word "NORMAL" there is no definition- therefore,doesnt exsist.As for Reality that is long extinct on this Planet. Not one person who has Schizophrenia experiences the same symptoms as any other individual person does.
But isolating other in any which way possible in this easier for the Ego-Elite of this world to do so, if we are segregated into minorities,class whatever!.. as well as it is benifial for those that feel the right to do this,to be of a social class,group (Sshh! Society) in order to control. I cant be the only person though that maybe feels that "STIGMA" is the highest contributing factor of suicide of a person with M.H Issues?? And that the STIGMA isnt only in the "outside" world and much in the health system itself..
It seems that i would be better off being a criminal, than being a schizophrenic.. And the attitude of both nurses and doctors..oohh and ABUSE! (sorry ..nearly forgot.) that i have lived with and observed in the hospitals.
But if i have ever tried to complain about what has been done to myself or what i have witnessed in the way we are treated..who the hell is going to believe a mentally "disorded" person like me??
Not only have i found that learning to live with my "issue" i have had to learn how to live with the "system" and only found those with "time to listen and help in any way" while in hospital ..were fellow patients.
Oh and if this sounds irrational to anyone who`s reading this,and what im about to state.. I think your sense of Reality is maybe in " The Planet of the Clangers!) tut,showin my age now..Ready??>>>>> If professionals who train,qualify and practice in Mental Health Sectors, how can they possibly effectively treat any one person with M.H issues??.. When the only academic,credited text books, are written by a Professor..etc on their PERSONAL perception and so called insight of what we are uniquely experiencing as Schizophrenics? or other M.H?
When i politely put this to my psychiatrist the other week, lets just didnt go down very well.. And i only brought it up when i had an issue with one of my medications , that i felt it wasnt working effectively , when he tried to explain all about the kind of medication it was, and what else it was used for..Believe me, he didnt quite like it when i said.."Its ok, i know all about the tablet,and what other area`s of health care it was used for"..Ooopps!! Then ,after his exhaggerated "Sigh" he told me what other medication he was going to replace it with.. (this is when aggitation set! not with me! with my Doctor.. I said i would rather look into the history of the drug,and its side effects , and if it could possibly,well be detremental to myself in other ways, i would request an alternative..

It was then the primate instinct oozed out of him..And I honestly thought at one point he would besquatting on his chair,and start thumping his chest.
Oh that point i kinda "shut off"..

Yeah...Yeah... THE END...Im sure some would like to question my sanity after reading all this.. but I learnt long ago to seek comfort in humour..within the world i live in..When i can..

Posted by: Joan d`Arc at August 24, 2007 04:52 PM

Hmmm I always wanted to start a social club. Not as a therapy group but more as a
snobby schizoid club. Where we can get together and negotiate our plans for global domination... We are many and they are few! Trust me on this one, we all have a common interest, and the 'others' are always contradictory to each other we can seize this world by its tiny neck and demand whatever we WANT!! MWHAHAHAHAHAHAHA...

Nurse walks in with large Haldol injection, and a few rough men... It was over before it started...

Posted by: max at August 26, 2007 09:53 AM

Ive suffered from Schizophrenia for approx 12 years maybe more and the symptoms are bad I only occassionally have psychosis but the psychosis is usually only for a few days. I take my medications as prescribed but the drugs dont always work.

I find that lack of sleep can induce psychosis and also other factors can contribute to lack of sleep which causes it. I take Zopiclone for the failure to sleep but this drug has side affects and so do most of the other antipsychotics that are prescribed. The situation with hospitals is that most just want to induce the patients into a zombie state I know Ive spent approx 8 months in such a hospital and nearly became institionalised. I was prescribed Seroxat for the entire time and the side affects were the worst, body tremours and other such things. You could tell what drugs people were on by their side affects most of the time. People in my family came to visit me but the what they saw was worse than the illness it was the side affects of the drugs that they saw that made them think I was crazy. There recently was a report on TV that the antidepressants dont even do any kind of work either, its a highly suspect drugs programme that has the same affect as if people were given placebo's. But then there is no side affect of placebo's. Ive been prescribed
Risperdol but it doesnt do shit for the voices but it does seem to work against visual hallucinations. I think that research should be done to find a sleeping pill that has no adverse side affects as it helps to be able to cut out the lack of sleep, development of psychosis and psychotic behaviour cycle that exists in some schizophreniacs.

Anyway there are many other problems that may contribute to such issues as schizophrenia. Ive read that 1/3 of people who get mental ilness never recover. So I see
my problem as a lifelong thing
induced possibly from brain damage caused by smoking hashish the lethal kind. So I would warn young adults to stay away from Drugs if they want a sound mind as in some people such drugs can cause long lasting problems. It doesnt take more than a few times to cause serious damage to the brain from hash and other drugs to cause life long damage. From what Ive read above smoking is common to most schizophreniacs but it may also be a cause of the illness also but I bet the smoking companies would want people to know that! A.

Posted by: James Hernon at March 9, 2008 03:28 PM

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