Recent genetic research has found genetic links between schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. The researchers are surprised, but clinicians are not. It is common to find both illnesses in the same family. And it is common to find the two diagnoses in the history of the same client! From a clinical point of view, mental illness appears to be more of a process that has functional properties, rather than a phenomena implied by calling it an illness.
Perhaps the most common problem I see in my clients is pervasive avoidance of emotion. I suspect that the American culture encourages us to value rationality above all else and hide our emotional “weakness”. I recall as a teen hearing guy talk about girls and their intuition about things how irrational and erratic that process made them. My Norwegian extended family certainly modeled stoicism, but paradoxically also demonstrated in a grand fashion why emotion was perceived as a problem of dramatic excess.
There is an important new research study on treatment of schizophrenia. They have found delayed or interrupted treatment is associated with permanent lost brain function and less success in recovery. That is indeed my clinical experience with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Any kind of chronic brain dysfunction makes permanent changes to brain structures and functioning. PTSD has been associated with permenent changes in emotion intensity and increased difficulty in emotion regulation.
Mind Hacks is a great blog by a couple guys who have a passion for cognitive neuroscience. There is always something interesting to read there. Today I found a quote from PSYCHE, a journal about consciousness. They make what may sound like a face valid statement about what is perception. When I was in graduate school, perception was described as physiological and psychological means to sense and understand our environment. Attention and awareness while mentioned and studied as a mediating function hardly gained the prominence implied in the following quote.