I have always been interested in my pattern of thinking. Often I have always thought that people dont use their imagination as much as I do. I have always been into the darker side of life, watching horror movies and listening to heavy metal etc. Obviously this is all fantasy though; demons arent really going to rip me to pieces like in the movies. Some people cant differentiate reality from fantasy though. I know in my head that I am able to think like most psychopaths but I am able to tell the difference between right and wrong. What I mean by that is I understand where theyre coming from and how they see the world because at times I feel that way. I want to why I am able to control my thoughts (as sick as they may be) and actions as to where they cant
Fear plays a major role in the actions of most people. People who have psychotic episodes tend to be less fearful of the world around them. For example whereas most people would scream at a horror movie they wouldnt even flinch. Thats how I seem to be (although Im used to horror movies since its the more creative genre of films). Does fear actually help someone to maintain his or her sanity? If they had no fear would that mean that they would be able to do anything no matter how crazy it sounds? Better yet, does everyone who lacks fear turn out to be psychopath? I lack most of the fears that other people have but Im not clinically insane. These are the questions I will try to answer in determining what causes someone to become completely detached from the world around them. A lack of fear isnt enough to determine if someone is a potential psychopath.
Freud believes that our fears are stored in our unconscious mind. We never actually know what our fears are and yet theyre there. He believed that each of us has a censor operating somewhere within or nervous systems, whose chief task is to prevent sexual or other types of threatening impulses or memories from breaking through to consciousness to embarrass us (Human Behavior 291). I think that theory is complete nonsense since I am aware at all times what is going on in my head. To simply put it, if you know youre afraid of something then its not unconscious.
A theory with more credibility comes from Pavlov. His theory is based on conditioning. Conditioning is when the fear is learned over time through certain key events. Pavlov describes this as The conditioning theory postulates that any neutral object or situation wich is associated with painful or fearful experiences will acquire fear-evoking properties(The Mind 258). This seems to make more sense since fear is something based on a person place or thing that brought out some frightful experience. The problem with this theory though is that it doesnt explain random fears or lack of fear in certain traumatic situations. Overall it still holds better than Freuds theory.
There are certain disorders that are linked to different types of fear. They are called phobias. But is there a name for someone with a complete lack of fear?
The most common occurrence of someone with a lack of fear is a person with schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a psychological disorder that affects over 2 million people in our population. Those diagnosed with this disease have been shown to be completely out of touch with reality and the world around them. On a positive note, this disorder has an extremely low rate of genetic inheritance. If one of your parents had it then you only have a 10 percent chance of getting it. If no one in your family has had it then your chances drop to about one percent.
Schizophrenia, like many physiological disorders, takes complete control of the brain and causes some undesirable effects in someones life. Reality becomes distorted and certain aspects of your personality begin to change (if they havent already). The first signs may occur as early as 17 years of age in males, and mid-twenties to early thirties in females.
Some symptoms, not visible by other people observing the schizophrenic, may include hallucinations, severe delusions, and a loose concept of reality. All of this goes on inside their head without us knowing at times. Some hallucinations are so traumatic they may even hurt themselves or others around them. Other symptoms, which can be seen from an outside point of view, may include social isolation, distorted speech, strange repetitive behavior, and disorganized speech and thoughts.
Of all the symptoms listed the most common and occurring one is the hallucination. The hallucinations alter your senses such as taste, smell, sound, and most of all sight. At times many hallucinations include some sort of voice or voices giving commands that causes that person to act out what he or she has been told to do. There can be several different voices talking at once that would cause the person to become confused. Voices play a large role in how a schizophrenic views reality. Often they will seem to be paranoid and have thoughts of constantly being followed, usually by some large organization such as the Mob or the F.B.I. The voices inform the individual of who is after them and at times will take over. This is the point at which one can observe the paranoid behavior and judge how severe the schizophrenia may be.
An example of a paranoid schizophrenic would be the assassin of Robert Kennedy, Sirhan Sirhan. Proud of his work and believing himself to be a patriot in his own right, Sirhan acted on behalf of the Arab people but seemed to have no recollection of the assassination. Dr.B.L. Diamond, who studied Sirhan, suspected that induced amnesia and self-hypnosis could have covered the psychotic break. Under hypnosis Sirhan turned into a completely different individual that vividly remembered killing Kennedy. According to Diamond Sirhan planned the killing under self-hypnosis and lacked conscious awareness of it (Abnormal Psychology 276).
Delusions and hallucinations often result from many biological and psychological conditions. Some causes may be from fatigue, drugs, delirium, and the exaggeration of certain defense mechanisms. Biological conditions play an important role but a difference in individual personality has a higher influence in the severity and content of the delusion or hallucination.
People diagnosed with having schizophrenia cannot understand the concept of what is wrong with them so they do not believe that they are sick. This is what causes most of the problems when doctors try to diagnose someone with this disease. As Rosenhan puts it The definition of abnormality plays a key role in determining whether or not someone is mentally ill, and the diagnosis largely determines the treatment received by a patient (Forty Studies 222-223). They will continue to refuse the fact that they are ill so medicating them becomes a problem. Unfortunately there is no complete way of curing schizophrenia, but doctors are trying hard to find one.
Over the years there have been great advances in the treatment of this disorder. Many doctors believe that about twenty percent of the people who are diagnosed can recover with some sort of treatment, usually through medication or seeing a psychotherapist.
Most schizophrenics, it seems, lack any sense of fear. I too lack certain fears that any normal person might have. By normal I mean what society deems as being normal. Naturally people are afraid of certain life threatening objects, events or situations. Usually I would just ignore any threat and pass it by whether it is a snake, roller coaster or any other dangerous situation. Most people would say that my apathetic behavior borders on schizophrenic. I disagree though. From what Ive seen, lack of fear and schizophrenia tie in extremely close to each other. However does it mean that you are a schizo if you lack a natural sense of fear?
As a child I was scared of just about everything. Roller coaster rides were completely out of the question and as for dogs; I would run away from them, as soon I knew they were near. Compared to other kids I wasnt as willing to join in any sort of group since I knew how rough kids were with each other, especially me. Now things have changed, Im the one who has fun catching snakes, going on the fastest roller coaster, and now I seem to be tougher than most of the people around me.
I never knew where the sudden change in behavior came from. At first I didnt even notice that I was changing until my friends started calling me a psycho. Obviously they were just joking but after a while it gets you thinking; maybe there is some truth to what theyre saying.
Of course no one is going to admit that they have any sort of problem. However that thought still lingered in my head. As Rosenhan states The line that divides normal from abnormal is not all clear(Forty Studies 223). At a time that was how I felt, not knowing if I crossed that line or not. After a while though I got over it and realized that all I was doing was stressing myself out.
After all the research, Ive found that the only thing I might have in common with a schizophrenic is their imagination and sporadic behavior. The difference between a schizophrenic and me is that I am able to distinguish reality from something made up in my head. As for the unpredictable behavior, they do it because of an imbalance of chemicals in their brain, I do it because I like to get peoples reactions and I enjoy acting weird.
I believe that the reason why I am not a schizophrenic is because I am able to control my fears and anxiety. The key word here is control. Without it youre nothing but a machine made up of flesh and bone. Schizophrenics dont have control over their thoughts or actions and that is why they seem out of touch with reality. Most of this control has to do with fear and anxiety. For example: any normal person would be scared if the F.B.I. was after them but people with a disorder seem devoid of any emotion. They do however acknowledge the content of the event but still seem oblivious to the world around them.
Instead of using medication or seeing a psychotherapist, the best way to treat this disorder might be to detect it from an early age. Naturally we will still have to administer medication and send them to a professional. Too often though people without schizophrenia are being diagnosed with having it and vise versa. Along with the drugs I think we should treat them the same as we would someone with high anxiety or any type of phobia. That is if doctors are willing to take the time to.
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