Maximally Dysfunctional Mental Structures
It is easiest to spot extreme cases of irrational behavior. If you see some guy having a detailed exchange with a banana, you can easily spot that there is something wrong with him.
In this section I give brief descriptions of psychosis, schizophenia and sociopathy. All these mental states have one thing in common; they are based on mental fragmentation. The mind becomes fragmented into parts. The person cannot see the fragments in a wholistic way.
Those are the most extreme cases of mental dysfunction so they stand out. But this same fragmentation can be seen on so many levels in what are commonly referred to as normal everyday people. It is part of our collective politics and social conditions. It is instrumental when training people for war.
It is in the inability of self to relate to others who do not share their beliefs. It is at the root of hypocrisy. It is at the root of war. It forms the basis of our stratified societies.
Psychic fragmentation allows for drug wars or the wars on "terror". It is manifest in the Milgram experiments. It allows people to kill Jews or kill and herd Palestinians. It is at the root of slavery.
"it is a normal fact that can be observed at any time and anywhere. It is not merely the neurotic whose right hand does not know what the left is doing. This predicament is a symptom of a general unconsciousness that is the undeniable common inheritance of all mankind" (Jung, 1964:23).
I refer to university education as a "pillbox" with fragments of knowledge confined to different departments with experts and specialists, each seemingly in their own worlds. Psychic fragmentation is easy to spot with the guy talking to the banana. It is less easy to spot when people living in first world conditions cannot relate to or perceive those living in third world conditions or when scientists contribute to the development of a new generation of weapons to be used on those people. Mental fragmentation and pillboxes are life on earth.
In the other direction mental integration, seeing, learning, connecting and a wholistic world view is a gift that is available. It is just rarer to see it happen.
Most extreme forms of mental fragmentation
, which loosely means "splitting of mental functions
", wikipedia link here
. From the link:
Consider the Mayo clinic definition of schizophrenia:
"Schizophrenia is a group of severe brain disorders in which people interpret reality abnormally
. Schizophrenia may result in some combination of hallucinations, delusions and disordered thinking and behavior
. The ability of people with schizophrenia to function normally and to care for themselves tends to deteriorate over time.
Contrary to some popular belief, schizophrenia isn't split personality or multiple personality. The word "schizophrenia" does mean "split mind," but it refers to a disruption of the usual balance of emotions and thinking.
Schizophrenia is a chronic condition, requiring lifelong treatment."
The ICD-10 criteria are typically used in European countries, while the DSM-IV-TR criteria are used in the United States and the rest of the world, and are prevailing in research studies. The ICD-10 criteria put more emphasis on Schneiderian first-rank symptoms. In practice, agreement between the two systems is high.
According to the revised fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR), to be diagnosed with schizophrenia, three diagnostic criteria must be met:
1. Characteristic symptoms
: Two or more of the following, each present for much of the time during a one-month period (or less, if symptoms remitted with treatment).
* Disorganized speech
, which is a manifestation of formal thought disorder
* Grossly disorganized behavior
(e.g. dressing inappropriately, crying frequently) or catatonic behavior
* Negative symptoms: Blunted affect (lack or decline in emotional response), alogia (lack or decline in speech), or avolition (lack or decline in motivation)
If the delusions are judged to be bizarre, or hallucinations consist of hearing one voice participating in a running commentary of the patient's actions or of hearing two or more voices conversing with each other, only that symptom is required above. The speech disorganization criterion is only met if it is severe enough to substantially impair communication
2. Social or occupational dysfunction
: For a significant portion of the time since the onset of the disturbance, one or more major areas of functioning such as work, interpersonal relations, or self-care, are markedly below the level achieved prior to the onset.
3. Significant duration
: Continuous signs of the disturbance persist for at least six months. This six-month period must include at least one month of symptoms (or less, if symptoms remitted with treatment).
If signs of disturbance are present for more than a month but less than six months, the diagnosis of schizophreniform disorder is applied. Psychotic symptoms lasting less than a month may be diagnosed as brief psychotic disorder, and various conditions may be classed as psychotic disorder not otherwise specified. Schizophrenia cannot be diagnosed if symptoms of mood disorder are substantially present (although schizoaffective disorder could be diagnosed), or if symptoms of pervasive developmental disorder are present unless prominent delusions or hallucinations are also present, or if the symptoms are the direct physiological result of a general medical condition or a substance, such as abuse of a drug or medication.
Likewise, for PSYCHOSIS
Signs and symptoms
People with psychosis may have one or more of the following: hallucinations, delusions, or a thought disorder
, as described below.
A hallucination is defined as sensory perception in the absence of external stimuli
. Hallucinations are different from illusions, or perceptual distortions, which are the misperception of external stimuli. Hallucinations may occur in any of the five senses and take on almost any form, which may include simple sensations (such as lights, colors, tastes, and smells) to more meaningful experiences such as seeing and interacting with fully formed animals and people, hearing voices, and having complex tactile sensations.
Auditory hallucinations, particularly experiences of hearing voices, are a common and often prominent feature of psychosis
. Hallucinated voices may talk about, or to, the person, and may involve several speakers with distinct personas. Auditory hallucinations tend to be particularly distressing when they are derogatory, commanding or preoccupying. However, the experience of hearing voices need not always be a negative one. One research study has shown that the majority of people who hear voices are not in need of psychiatric help. The Hearing Voices Movement has subsequently been created to support voice hearers, regardless of whether they are considered to have a mental illness or not.
Psychosis may involve delusional beliefs, some of which are paranoid in nature
. Karl Jaspers has classified psychotic delusions into primary and secondary types. Primary delusions are defined as arising suddenly and not being comprehensible in terms of normal mental processes, whereas secondary delusions may be understood as being influenced by the person's background or current situation (e.g., ethnic or sexual orientation, religious beliefs, superstitious belief)
 Thought disorder
Thought disorder describes an underlying disturbance to conscious thought and is classified largely by its effects on speech and writing. Affected persons show loosening of associations, that is, a disconnection and disorganization of the semantic content of speech and writing. In the severe form speech becomes incomprehensible and it is known as "word-salad"
The extreme limits of psychic fragmentation under repeated trauma; Multiple personality disorder (Dissociative Identity Disorder)
PSYCHOPATHY AND SOCIOPATHY DEFINED
Many of the descriptions of the earliest European history in the Americas are like a textbook description of modern psychopathy
Dr Robert Hare: The first efforts to standardize the definition of psychopathy within modern psychology::
These are enlightening studies on features of psychopathic behavior.
1) Lack of sincerity
2) Lack of empathy.
3) Lack of reaction to normally disturbing impressions.
4) Exaggerated sense of self importance.
5) Incapacity to feel guilt or shame
To Dr Hare, a key ingredient of the psychopath seems to be expressed in the title his website and one of his books: "Without Conscience"
What is a Psychopath?
"Psychopaths are social predators who charm, manipulate and ruthlessly plow their way through life, leaving a broad trail of broken hearts, shattered expectations without the slightest sense of guilt or regret. Their bewildered victims desperately ask, 'Who are these people?'"
We often think of psychopaths as the disturbed criminals who capture headlines and crowd the nation's prisons. But not all psychopaths are killers. They are more likely to be men and women you know who move through life with supreme self-confidence -- but without a conscience.
"What makes them the way they are? How can we protect ourselves?"
-- Robert D Hare, "Without Conscience"
One of the more revealing studies concerns monitoring the reactions of various people to images, some neutral and some quite disturbing. A neutral image may be of a chair or some uncharged inanimate object.
People exhibiting psychopathic tendencies are found to have a similar emotional reaction to both neutral and disturbing images
They would have a similar neutral lack of emotion while looking at a door, for example, as they would looking at graphic violence.
Consider the common checklists for diagnosing a psychopath:
Hare Psychopathy Checklist
1. Glibness/superficial charm
2. Grandiose sense of self-worth
3. Pathological lying
5. Lack of remorse or guilt
6. Emotionally shallow
7. Callous/lack of empathy
8. Failure to accept responsibility for own actions
Socially deviant lifestyle
1. Need for stimulation/proneness to boredom
2. Parasitic lifestyle
3. Poor behavioral control
4. Promiscuous sexual behavior
5. Lack of realistic, long-term goals
8. Juvenile delinquency
9. Early behavioral problems
10. Revocation of conditional release
Traits not correlated with either factor
1. Many short-term marital relationships
2. Criminal versatility
In his 1941 book, Mask of Sanity, Hervey M. Cleckley introduced 16 behavioral characteristics of a psychopath: 
1. Superficial charm and good "intelligence"
2. Absence of delusions and other signs of irrational thinking
3. Absence of nervousness or psychoneurotic manifestations
5. Untruthfulness and insincerity
6. Lack of remorse and shame
7. Inadequately motivated antisocial behavior
8. Poor judgment and failure to learn by experience
9. Pathologic egocentricity and incapacity for love
10. General poverty in major affective reactions
11. Specific loss of insight
12. Unresponsiveness in general interpersonal relations
13. Fantastic and uninviting behavior with drink and sometimes without
14. Suicide threats rarely carried out
15. Sex life impersonal, trivial, and poorly integrated
16. Failure to follow any life plan.
Created on 08/12/2012 04:49 PM by admin
Updated on 05/30/2014 04:09 AM by admin