Monday, July 27, 2009

Voices? Schizophrenia? Naw, You're Psychic!!!

"She was sociable and happy in high school. But in college that changed abruptly: Depressed and withdrawn, some days she couldn't get out of bed.

And that wasn't all.

'I had really odd thoughts,' recalled the woman, now 21, who asked that her name not be used. While walking across campus at the University of Southern Maine, 'sometimes I'd feel like people were just right behind me (who might) jump me or something.'

She knew it wasn't true, but she couldn't shake the feeling.

Sometimes, while driving, she saw imaginary, shadowy people on the sidewalk. And now and then, out of nowhere, there would be a woman's voice in her ear during class, or random soft noises like knocking or the fizzy hiss of a newly opened soda can.

When she visited the university health service and talked about feeling depressed, a nurse practitioner saw another problem: a possible case of schizophrenia in the making.

This schizophrenia 'prodrome' — the early signs — involves a troubled mental state usually found in teens and young adults. It can lead to psychosis, the loss of touch with reality that marks not only schizophrenia, but also some forms of depression or manic-depression. The prodrome can linger for weeks, or years, before it gives way to psychosis — or mysteriously disappears without a trace."
-- Malcolm Ritter, who - clearly - hasn't been informed of this new set of "rights" we have, writing for The San Francisco Chronicle.