To Understand Schizophrenia

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There are many social problems nowadays, and despite the fact that our medicine actively finds more and more chemicals for treating people, some still remain unsolved mysteries. One of them is schizophrenia. Despite the fact that medical research has become advanced in the area of schizophrenia exploration, there are many spots that cannot yet be properly identified and eliminated.

For this reason, schizophrenia still remains an important issue for medical research. Psychologists have identified a number of factors which force people with schizophrenia to behave in the same way. The movie ‘No More Shame’ shows exactly how these factors come to life in real life examples. 

The film is set to discover the way schizophrenia operates in a person’s brain. Based on the real life examples, each of them providing a different scope of view on the problem, ‘No More Shame: Understanding Schizophrenia’ is set to reveal the current findings in the sphere of schizophrenia and the way that the existing treatment of the disease helps the patients recover fully or partially.

In the movie, the types of schizophrenia are addressed in terms of symptoms of the disease. Based on the symptoms, the doctors make conclusions on the strength of schizophrenia and its ability to be cured. Therefore, the basic finding of the movie entails the fact that treatment is different for each case. This treatment is based on the symptoms of the illness and the extent to which the disease is spread in the organism of the patient. Such approach is addressed as typical in the case of schizophrenia treatment.

The movie addresses not only the patient’s cases but also helps the viewer to understand the development of the disease. With the help of nicely-made computer effects and graphics, the viewers can better understand the disease and its outcomes. The level of neuron is explored, too.

However, the potential problem of the movie is that it only shows the treatment and disease side of problem, but it does not fully address the society side of schizophrenia. None of the examples, given in the movie, reveals the way, in which social environment facilitates either the development or the treatment of schizophrenia. As noted by Cockburn, ‘mistreatment of the mentally ill is a true test of any community because they are its weakest and most voiceless members and it happens today, not through ignorance, but because nobody cares to do much about it’ (paragraph 13).

Still, some of the real life examples from the movie relate to the bigger picture. The story of 54-old engineer hearing voices is a description of how schizophrenia develops in a person’s  brain. The importance of this disease in the case of the engineer is that his personality develops together with the disease. According to his wife, the changes of disease have resulted in its development and the fact that the voices appear more often. Besides that, the reality is also violated, and he tends to see more of his wife than she actually is.

The film’s key advantage is that it not only presents the key findings of the research on schizophrenia that is actual and comprehensive, but it also destroys a lot of myths on schizophrenia that exist in the society. First of all, the myth that the people with schizophrenia are dangerous and can never be cured. It was proven that the patients in many cases can lead a normal life in their social environment and can be cured. At the same time, the myth that schizophrenia means division of reality into multiple realities in the brain of a person, but actually it is not multiple realities at all. People with schizophrenia live in their own world, in their unique reality.

Essay 3. Insanity Defense: Explain what this means? Define Insanity and what are the legal parameters for claiming this as a defense.

In legal practice, people commiting a crime are usually considered to be in a normal healthy condition which entails both mental and physical health state. However, there are cases when  people are claimed insane, and therefore they are not able to hold full responsibility for the crime. This process is called insanity defense.

Insanity Defense Work Group mentions that the idea of insanity defense was revealed long before psychiatry started to explore the process and argues that ‘the idea that the insane should not be punished for otherwise criminal acts began to develop in the twelfth century as part of the more general idea that criminal punishment should be imposed only on persons who were morally blameworthy’ (681). Therefore, long before the insanity defense was documented and explored from the psychiatric point of view; the process became part of the legal practice. This has shaped the insanity defense that we see nowadays and at the same time caused the appearance of vast number of issues that became causes of concern for both psychiatrists and lawyers.

According to Insanity Defense Work Group, the whole historic development of the insanity defense as a process has been full of misunderstanding, debate, and standards revision from time to time. Therefore, there are still a lot of unsolved cases when insanity defense is put to doubt. Criminal law is nowadays not yet ready to cover the topic of insanity defense in full and to finalize the process of providing the insanity defense to the criminals.

Grachek sees the process as dangerous for the society, as  people infected with mental illness allow them to kill others are not usually isolated from the rest of the world and are even regarded as patients who require medical care and special forms of assistance. For this reason, insanity defense as a process should be improved.

According to Insanity Defense Work Group, ‘by singling out certain defendants as either lacking free will or, alternatively, lacking sufficient understanding of what they do, the insanity defense becomes the exception that proves the rule’ (681). Therefore, the legal parameters for treating to the murderer as mentally ill person are the absence of free will and sufficient understanding of the reality causing the person to specifically react to the factors and elements of the world, even if this reaction involves crime.

However, even if this part of the insanity defense is fully described and revealed in criminal law with all its accuracy in procedures and claims, the underlying problem of the issue is centered, according to Grachek, ‘around the reality that mentally ill offenders, particularly violent offenders, are not given the opportunity to obtain adequate rehabilitative treatment while serving their sentences’ (1479). Due to the fact that the defendant acknowledges the crime but claims that he or she is not guilty due to the mental illness, the fact that the person is a criminal becomes clear.

In this case, placing a person together with other mentally ill patients would not be a good decision; neither would be placing a person together with other sentenced prisoners in jail without proper medical treatment. Therefore, insanity defense as a process involves special care for the prisoners suffering from various forms of mental disorders. This is also one of the legal parameters within the process of insanity defense.

Finally, the most important legal parameter is finding the proof that exactly at the time of crime the person was mentally ill. This still presents an area for violations, and the psychiatrists now seek for improvement of insanity defense proof methods so that the process becomes more consistent in the future. By now, insanity defense is one of those cases when psychiatrists are being asked for handling the unsolved mysteries.

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