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  • Can schizophrenia or the medication you take for it suppress the immune system?

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    Old 05-03-2004, 06:54 PM   #1
    zoron
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    Can schizophrenia or the medication you take for it suppress the immune system?

    I heard that this mental illness and the medication you take for it can suppress the immune system. True or not?

    I love this girl very much, but she has the illness. She got diagnosed 6 months ago. Her family said she got it from smoking marijuana with an ex-boyfriend of hers. How can marijuana cause people to become mentally ill like this?

    I don't know how long I can be strong enough to be with her, or how strong enough she is to be with me? I don't know what to do at this point...

    Can Vitamin B-12 and Magesium oral supplements help her condition?

     
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    Old 05-03-2004, 11:27 PM   #2
    Portia26
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    Re: Can schizophrenia or the medication you take for it suppress the immune system?

    I don't know anything about whehther or not anti-psychotic meds affect the immune system, but I cannot stress enough that using marijuana would never CAUSE schizophrenia. It is something one is born with, and it comes out under certain conditions (stress, etc... not marijuana usage). Vitamins can help, but anti-psych meds need to be considered as the frontline therapy. She can have a theroretically "normal" life if she finds the right meds and is being well taken care of.

     
    Old 05-04-2004, 06:25 AM   #3
    prometheus
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    Re: Can schizophrenia or the medication you take for it suppress the immune system?

    You are born with schizophrenia? Really? You are born with beliefs? You believe in biological determinism? Well..most psychiatrists do.

    Quote:
    I heard that this mental illness and the medication you take for it can suppress the immune system. True or not?

    I love this girl very much, but she has the illness. She got diagnosed 6 months ago. Her family said she got it from smoking marijuana with an ex-boyfriend of hers. How can marijuana cause people to become mentally ill like this?

    I don't know how long I can be strong enough to be with her, or how strong enough she is to be with me? I don't know what to do at this point...

    Can Vitamin B-12 and Magesium oral supplements help her condition?
    Portia is right. Marijuana cannot cause "schizophrenia" becuase "schizophrenia" does not exist. What marijuana use can do is cause behavioral, emotional, and personality changes that are undesirable. If you research the diagnosis of schizophrenia from past to present you will see it encompasses everything a person can think, feel, or do that is undesirable at the time. I can't decide whether it was the marijuana unless I know what was your friend thinking, feeling, or believing that got her the diagnosis of schizophrenia? Now I don't know and I have to ask you because there is no one set of symptoms for schizophrenia, unlike real diseases. There are few "mental illnesses" that have not at one time or another been called schizophrenia and present definitions of schizophrenia are vague or inconsistent with each other. People who are obsessed with certain thoughts or who feel compelled to perform certain behaviors, such as washing their hands repeatedly, are usually considered to be suffering from a separate psychiatric disease called "obsessive-compulsive disorder". Yet, people with obsessive thoughts or compulsive behaviors have also been called schizophrenic. You can be diagnosed schizophrenic without hallucinations or with hallucinations, without paranoia or with paranoia, without "delusions" or with "delusions", etc. Can someone tell me what exactly is schizophrenia? Not Dr Torrey, author of "Surviving Schizophrenia":


    "The definitions of most diseases of mankind has been accomplished. ... In almost all diseases there is something which can be seen or measured, and this can be used to define the disease and separate it from nondisease states. Not so with schizophrenia! To date we have no single thing which can be measured and from which we can then say: Yes, that is schizophrenia. Because of this, the definition of the disease is a source of great confusion and debate" (p. 73). "

    and not Dr. Edward Drummand:

    "There is no accepted etiology of schizophrenia although there have been many theories. ... The unfortunate truth is that we don't know what causes schizophrenia or even what the illness is." Edward Drummond, M.D., Associate Medical Director at Seacoast Mental Health Center in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, (The Complete Guide to Psychiatric Drugs, 2000, pages 11-12)."

    If Portia can tell me what schizophrenia is I would be surprised. A real form of psychosis is when people believe something is true just because everyone talks about it like it is.

    "Schizophrenia is a brain disease"

    This statement is not supported by scientific analysis. There is to date not one "mental illness" that has been shown to have a biological cause. Not one! And definitely not schizophrenia! Unethical psychiatrists are stating that schizophrenia is a brain disease like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, or multiple sclerosis. There is no "universal" recognition that schizophrenia is a brain disease "like all other brain diseases." Medical textbooks and pathology journals do not include schizophrenia as a pathophysiological condition (Schaler, 1998). A more accurate guess would be that schizophrenia are brain diseases, like earlier descriptions. Emil Kraeplin (1902) and Eugen Bleuler (1950) describe "the schizophrenias" as a group of conditions. According to O'Donnell and Grace (1998): "a major problem in the study of schizophrenia is the diversity of its symptoms, leading to the suggestion that schizophrenia is actually a cluster of diseases" (p. 267). Yet it is clearly not a biological disease, like other brain diseases. A true brain disease must be identified and confirmed by laboratory tests. No neurological, blood chemistry, or brain scan test (or any other test) independently evaluated by a neurologist, biochemist, or pathologist who knows nothing about the patient's clinical symptoms is able to reliably discriminate between a person experiencing a first episode of schizophrenia and someone who is not (Andreason, 1997 Linking mind and brain in the study of mental illnesses: a project for scientific psychopathology. Science, 275 (14 March), 1586-1593). However, such a test might well identify someone who has been taking neuroleptic medications for many years and studies with "positive findings" do not control for the effects prolonged use of neuroleptics and other drugs. Ismail, Cantor-Grace, & McNeil (1998) found that when schizophrenic patients had certain neurological abnormalities, their siblings without clinical signs of schizophrenia had very similar abnormalities. Andreasen (1995 Symptoms, signs, and diagnosis of schizophrenia. The Lancet, 346 (8973), 477-481.) found that a few people without symptoms of schizophrenia have brain abnormalities similar to those of some schizophrenic subjects. According to Lewine (1998 Epilogue. In M.F. Lenzenweger & R.H. Dworkin (Eds.), Origin and development of schizophrenia (pp. 493-503). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.) "there is no brain abnormality in schizophrenia that characterizes more than 20-33% of any given sample. The brains of the majority of individuals with schizophrenia are normal as far as researchers can tell at present" (p. 499). The cause of schizophrenia is unknown as beautifully elucidated by the following educated guess stated by Andreasen during her interview ( Farnsworth, E. (1998, July 27). Unstable minds. Transcript at Jim Lehrer's NewsHour on-line. Available at pbs newshour Past programs file, July 27, 1998.) that schizophrenia results from:

    "multiple things„perhaps a genetic predisposition, nutritional factors early in life, viral infections, head injuries, exposure to toxin, exposure to drugs of various kinds, illicit drugs. All these things add up to produce a brain injury that we then recognize as schizophrenia."

    Also some people diagnosed with schizophrenia progress beyond recovery, without the aid of "medication".

    Your question, can schizophrenia "medication" depress the immune system. Yes. That is not all it does. Neuroleptics are used to treat schizophrenia. In the beginning it was freely acknowledged and commonly known that neuroleptics (tranquilizers) worked by damaging the brain. When they were used to punish dissidents in Russia, human rights activists protested their use on psychiatric victims. That was when pharmaceutical companies, and psychiatrists gave thorazine and neuroleptics a makeover. Since then schizophrenics "needed" neuroleptics and the image they love to use is "like a diabetic needs insulin". Psychiatrists embarked on a frenzied search for a reason why schizophrenics would need brain damaging neuroleptics. They came up with some ideas such as the dopamine hypothesis, however none of them were proven. This of course did not stop them from talking about it as if it was true and you will see many people unabashadly proclaiming that schizophrenia is the result of dopamine or some other chemical imbalance.

    Yes, if it is caused by the drug marijuana or some other drug than vitamins, minerals, and good nutrition will definitely be helpful. They will be helpful anyway as anyone who uses drugs needs nutritional support.

    If someone can believe, despite all evidence, that schizophrenia is a brain disease, or even that it exists as a real entity outside the realm of ideas, and yet deny that drug use such as marijuana can cause behavioral changes, or that nutrients and sauna will do nothing more than a "placebo" affect for someone who has used cocaine, she is the psychotic one.


    Ismail, B., Cantor-Grace, E., & McNeil, T.F. (1998). Neurological abnormalities in schizophrenic patients and their siblings. American Journal of Psychiatry, 155, 84-89.

    Kraeplin, E. (1902). Clinical psychiatry: A textbook for students and physicians (A.R. Diefendorf, Trans.). New York: Macmillan.

    Bleuler, M. (1979b). My sixty years with schizophrenics. In L. Bellack (Ed.), Disorders of the schizophrenic syndrome (pp. vii-ix). New York: Basic Books.
    Schaler, J. (1998, August 22). Mental-health parity [Letter to the editor]. Philadelphia Inquirer, p. A12.

    O'Donnell, P. & Grace, A.A. (1998). Dysfunctions in multiple interrelated systems as the neurological bases of schizophrenic symptom clusters. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 24, 267-283.

    Last edited by prometheus; 05-04-2004 at 07:35 AM.

     
    Old 05-04-2004, 11:33 AM   #4
    Portia26
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    Re: Can schizophrenia or the medication you take for it suppress the immune system?

    Site as many "sources" as you want, I stand by my response. I am no dr. (are you?), but every "definition" of schizophrenia I have read includes the symptoms I listed. In fact, I have never read otherwise. I don't think it's safe to promote your skewed agenda when people's lives are involved. I know, you'll say mine is the skewed agenda, and EVERYONE else is wrong. Well, I prefer to stand by the facts as I know them. The established facts. I agree that schizophrenia manifests itself differently in many people, but hallucinations must be present. How sad that you would deny them medication that could help them escape these often painful and frightening experiences. Perhaps they aren't efficient for everyone with such problems, but not every drug helps every person. Who are you to deny them to opportunity to be happier? I leave the decisions to the patient, their DOCTOR and their families. Of course this disease is complex, and so are the solutions. But it is a DISEASE, not simply an alternate way of seeing the world, as you seem to so romantically believe it is.

     
    Old 05-04-2004, 07:56 PM   #5
    prometheus
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    Re: Can schizophrenia or the medication you take for it suppress the immune system?

    Exactly what facts are you standing by, Portia?

     
    Old 05-06-2004, 07:24 PM   #6
    prometheus
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    Re: Can schizophrenia or the medication you take for it suppress the immune system?

    Portia I am very interested in these established facts that you refer to. Could you please elaborate?

     
    Old 05-07-2004, 01:26 AM   #7
    Portia26
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    Re: Can schizophrenia or the medication you take for it suppress the immune system?

    Not able to post links here, but read the DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for schizophrenia. It's all in there. I'm sure you think the DSM-IV is bull though, but that is the main reference for mental health!

     
    Old 05-07-2004, 02:37 AM   #8
    prometheus
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    Re: Can schizophrenia or the medication you take for it suppress the immune system?

    Yes I have actually read the DSM from 1968 to present. I can go read a description of unicorns but that doesn't tell me that unicorns are real (nor does it present any factual evidence for unicorns.) What is this supposed to tell me, Portia?

    "Characteristic symptoms: Two (or more) of the following, each present for a significant portion of time during a 1-month period (or less if successfully treated):
    delusions
    hallucinations
    disorganized speech (e.g., frequent derailment or incoherence)
    grossly disorganized or catatonic behavior
    negative symptoms, i.e., affective flattening, alogia, or avolition
    Note: Only one Criterion A symptom is required if delusions are bizarre or hallucinations consist of a voice keeping up a running commentary on the person's behavior or thoughts, or two or more voices conversing with each other.

    Social/occupational dysfunction: For a significant portion of the time since the onset of the disturbance, one or more major areas of functioning such as work, interpersonal relations, or self-care are markedly below the level achieved prior to the onset (or when the onset is in childhood or adolescence, failure to achieve expected level of interpersonal, academic, or occupational achievement).
    Duration: Continuous signs of the disturbance persist for at least 6 months. This 6-month period must include at least 1 month of symptoms (or less if successfully treated) that meet Criterion A (i.e., active-phase symptoms) and may include periods of prodromal or residual symptoms. During these prodromal or residual periods, the signs of the disturbance may be manifested by only negative symptoms or two or more symptoms listed in Criterion A present in an attenuated form (e.g., odd beliefs, unusual perceptual experiences).

    Schizoaffective and Mood Disorder exclusion: Schizoaffective Disorder and Mood Disorder With Psychotic Features have been ruled out because either (1) no Major Depressive, Manic, or Mixed Episodes have occurred concurrently with the active-phase symptoms; or (2) if mood episodes have occurred during active-phase symptoms, their total duration has been brief relative to the duration of the active and residual periods.

    Substance/general medical condition exclusion: The disturbance is not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or a general medical condition.

    Relationship to a Pervasive Developmental Disorder: If there is a history of Autistic Disorder or another Pervasive Developmental Disorder, the additional diagnosis of Schizophrenia is made only if prominent delusions or hallucinations are also present for at least a month (or less if successfully treated). "


    Is this supposed to tell me that schizophrenia is a brain disease? Is this supposed to tell me that people are born with schizophrenia? Is this supposed to tell me that drugs do not cause hallucinations or delusions or behavioral changes? Is it supposed to tell me schizophrenia exists as a disease entity outside of a characterization of negative traits? Portia what are the established facts that you refer to? You certainly could have posted this yourself. Is this all you have for me? This is likened to a fundie telling someone to "read the bible" after they ask a question. What is this supposed to tell me? No one is arguing that there is an idea called "schizophrenia" that psychiatrists use to characterize people so what am I supposed to glean from this? Are you telling me that this "disease" can only be seen/defined in terms of its symptoms, that, btw, change throughout the years, and that is good enough for you to go around telling people that they are born with it?

    Now, I thought you told me that hallucinations must be present? The DMS-IV doesn't agree with you and not Dr. Torrey either. In his book Surviving Schizophrenia, he states that so-called schizophrenia includes several widely divergent personality types: paranoid schizophrenics, who have "delusions and/or hallucinations" that are either "persecutory" or "grandiose"; hebephrenic schizophrenics, in whom "well-developed delusions are usually absent"; catatonic schizophrenics who tend to be characterized by "posturing, rigidity, stupor, and often mutism" or, in other words, sitting around in a motionless, nonreactive state (in contrast to paranoid schizophrenics who tend to be suspicious and jumpy); and simple schizophrenics, who exhibit a "loss of interest and initiative" like the catatonic schizophrenics (though not as severe) and unlike the paranoid schizophrenics have an "absence of delusions or hallucinations" (p. 77).

    Last edited by prometheus; 05-07-2004 at 05:16 AM.

     
    Old 05-07-2004, 04:24 AM   #9
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    Re: Can schizophrenia or the medication you take for it suppress the immune system?

    a conversation with Portia about Unicorns would go something like this:

    Portia: "No. Unicorns exist in magical forests that can only be entered by virgins."

    Prometheus: "Where are the magical forests"

    Portia: "Where the unicorns live."

    Prometheus: "Have you ever seen a magical forest?"

    Portia: "No"

    Prometheus: "Did you know that no one has ever seen a magical forest and there is no evidence for the existence of magical forests?"

    Portia: "I don't care about your skewed agenda. Unicorns exist. Everyone knows this. I stand by the facts."

    Prometheus: "What are these facts you stand by?"

    Portia: "Go read the dictionary. Under "unicorn.""

     
    Old 05-07-2004, 05:26 AM   #10
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    Re: Can schizophrenia or the medication you take for it suppress the immune system?

    IOn a side note I found this really interesting. This is what "Alogia" is, which can be used as a criterion for diagnosing "Schizophrenia". I found this example of Alogia following its definition:

    "Alogia"
    Q: Do you have any children?
    A: Yes.
    Q: How old are they?
    A: Six and twelve.
    Q: Are they boys or girls?
    A: One is a boy, the other is a girl.
    Q: Who is the twelve year old?
    A: The boy.
    Q: What is his name?
    A: John.
    Q: And the girl?
    A: Alice.

    "Normal speech"
    Q: Do you have any children?
    A: Yes, I have two children; a twelve year old boy, and a six year old girl.
    Q: And their names?
    A: The boy is named John, and the girl is named Alice.

    Oh and "avolition" is absence of initiative or motivation to begin and maintain behavior in pursuit of a goal. I know a lot of former marijuana users who have significant "avolition" (note that schizophrenia diagnoses only exclude "direct" physiological influence of a drug). So if you answer questions like the above example, fail to pursue a goal, and have strange beliefs you can be diagnosed with a terminal illness and forced to take disabling and brain damaging drugs. Unfortunately there is no way to correct this because there are no other tests for the disease besides the "symptoms", which vary widely, contradict eachother, have changed and can be changed at any time. Of course, if your beliefs are weird enough you can get diagnosed on that alone: "Note: Only one Criterion A symptom is required if delusions are bizarre." What kind of science is this?

    Btw, Portia I'm not writing to illicit a response from you or your commentary. You can give it, but I'm not interested in it until you can provide me the facts you stand by, since you mentioned them.

    Last edited by prometheus; 05-07-2004 at 05:42 AM.

     
    Old 05-07-2004, 11:26 AM   #11
    Portia26
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    Re: Can schizophrenia or the medication you take for it suppress the immune system?

    You win prometheus. Aren't you happy? I can't be bothered with this thread anymore. I was only responding in order to hopefully help some people who may be suffering. I am no doctor (and I don't think you are either), so why should I bother arguing with some guy online with wacky ideas? I clearly won't change your mind. And I don't care anymore. So yay, you win. I'll let people reading this thread come to their own conclusions about schizophrenia.

     
    Old 05-19-2004, 09:11 PM   #12
    Joebinski
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    Re: Can schizophrenia or the medication you take for it suppress the immune system?

    prometheus's argument is an established one Portia26.

    If you talk to God, you are praying;
    If God talks to you, you have schizophrenia.

    If the dead talk to you, you are a spiritualist;
    If God talks to you, you are a schizophrenic.


    --Thomas S. Szasz

    Even when there are neurological differences in psychotic patients this can be for one of two confounding reasons.

    1) The chemical or biological change (dopamine) is a RESULT not a cause of the linguistically defined aspects of the 'disorder'.
    2) The anti-psychotic medication has affected the biochemical change.


    I really could go on and on, as I am revising for an exam on the history of psychopathology at Uni, but think that you could do with some DEEPER research yourself. It's not hard to find this stuff on the web.

    Joe

     
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