By: C. Paixão
Schizophrenia is a chronic mental disorder that affects a person’s ability to feel, think, behave sensibly and interpret reality. This disorder is caused by a combination of genetical structure, environment and altered brain chemistry, for what scientists have discovered. Several studies indicate that schizophrenia is most likely to develop in men than in women.
Schizophrenia is distinguished by experiences, thoughts and events that seem abnormal and out of touch with reality. A schizophrenic person may experience symptoms such as: aggression, compulsive behaviour, hostility, hyperactivity, nonsense word repetition, self-harm, social isolation, , amnesia, delusion, disorientation, believing that something out of the ordinary has happened, mental confusion, anxiety, depression, hallucination, paranoia, mistrust, rapid and frenzied speaking, amongst other symptoms.
Although there isn’t a cure for schizophrenia yet, there are some methods that have proven to be extremely effective for patients, such as therapies and medications. Treatments for schizophrenia are lifelong and usually involve a combination of medication and therapy, but won't permanently cure patients. There are various types of therapy methods for this disorder, such as: support groups, cognitive therapy, psychoeducation, behavioural therapy, group psychotherapy, amongst others. Moreover, there are a few medications that patients may take, such as antipsychotics and aripiprazole.
For an individual to be officially diagnosed with schizophrenia, a medical report and diagnosis are required. On the other hand, lab tests and imaging are not. Researchers have been developing an artificial intelligence tool to predict schizophrenia by analysing brain scans.
The exact causes of schizophrenia are unknown; however, scientific studies have proven that the following factors may trigger this disorder: genetic, biochemical, family problems, alcohol and drug use, stress, rape, abuse, trauma in general, and others. Anything that significantly impact one’s life may trigger schizophrenia.
Between 0.3% and 0.7% of people are diagnosed during their lifetime. In 2017, 1.1 million new cases were estimated globally, summing up to 20 million total cases in 2019. As men have an earlier onset, they are more likely to develop this disorder. A mortality study from France reported that schizophrenia has a 14% mortality rate, where 4.2% is due to suicide, 2.2% is due to cancer, 2.0% is due to CVD (cardiovascular disease), and 1.4% is due to “accidental” or “non-suicide poisoning”.
Studies have shown that the estimated amount of the Brazilian population that has schizophrenia is 0.8% (1.6 million brazilians). Considering that the Brazilian population is 211 million, the amount of people who have this disorder is considerably high. Scientific results have concluded that Latino Americans are three times more likely to develop schizophrenia than Euro-Americans.
Carl Jung’s research VS. current research
Carl Gustav Jung (1875 - 1961) was a Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who founded analytical psychology. During his life, he wrote around 44 books and developed several theories related to human psychology. Jung advanced the idea of extrovert and introvert personalities, archetypes, and the power of the unconscious mind. From 1906-1912, he collaborated and worked alongside Sigmond Freud, despite their different opinions and opposite views on certain topics. Carl’s works has been influential not only to psychology, but to other field like philosophy and literature.
Carl Jung became Eugen Bleuler’s disciple between the periods of 1900-1909, at the Burghölzli psychiatric hospital, where he investigated clinical aspects of the new disorder “schizophrenia”, mainly through psychophysiological studies. While working with Freud, he started developing the psychoanalytical movement. Jung then departed early from his work relationship with Freud, and developed his own model of the psyche and founded a new school.
Jung initially elaborated with respect to neurotic conditions, to schizophrenia. He proposed that, in schizophrenic patients, the degree to which psychic energy can be mobilized is reduced, however, the amount of energy present is not, as in neurotic states. This status of lowered psychic tension leads to a less organized mental functioning. This situation causes a weakening of the will, which prevents thoughts to be fully carried out, being interrupted by secondary contents which the patient is incapable of blocking. Jung said that “there is a weakness in the hierarchical order of the mind” resulting in a state, where “the central control of the psyche has become so weak that it can neither promote nor inhibit” the mental operations. Using his books and researches, treatments have improved and researches have become more detailed. With technology advancing, tools designed to detect and cure schizophrenia are being developed. Hence, Jung’s researches have helped lots of people and contributed to further scientific studies and influenced various fields.