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Schizophrenia - The Balloon Concept
Schizophrenia is a condition greatly misunderstood by the 'man in the street'. We often hear sufferers being described as having a 'split personality' or believing themselves to be 'someone other' than him or herself. Whilst these descriptions are partially true they describe the condition only in the vaguest of terms. It is indeed a serious mental condition invariably triggered by what is perceived by the sufferer to be an overwhelming threat to his or her very survival.
It is important to appreciate that the body is a chemical machine whose equilibrium is affected by the manner in which the brain perceives particular outside events in his living environment. 'Homo Sapiens' is primarily programmed to survive and procreate. Once this crucial tenet is fully taken on board it can readily be accepted that everything the schizophrenic does is directed towards one or other of these goals. An overwhelming threat triggers the 'fight or flight' mechanism in the vast majority of cases by the production of adrenaline. However, in the case of some people, this chemical reaction 'goes wrong' and instead of fighting or running away, the individual protects himself by escaping into a delusional state far removed from reality. The schizophrenic cushions himself from the 'thing' out there by switching off the normal chemical responses and substituting them with a perceived belief that he has entered another world without emotion, without danger. One issue may be the distortion of body image, such as the swelling of the head. This is the delusional state, or the 'flat affect' state so characteristic of the schizophrenic. This is the result of an improper chemical reaction having taken place which I believe involves abnormal interactions of possibly adrenaline, catecholamines, and histamine. Its a known fact that the goose flesh skin response and the red neck appearance is chemically related. One knows that amphetamines, LSD, and steroids can cause psychosis. One can see the correlation of the chemical involvement relating to stress.
The schizophrenic reaction takes it one step further, which according to this writer indicates a major catastrophic event has taken place in the schizophrenic causing a release of a chemical which has not been identified. At first just like blowing up a new balloon for the first time, our cheeks become sore. But each time we continue to blow it up, it then becomes easy. The initial issue causes one to go into a psychotic state. This is why the importance of early and effective drug treatment in the schizophrenic is necessary for remission to counteract that chemical which has been released. Since that chemical has been released, further stresses of life that may not be major will release this chemical, continuing the chronic schizophrenic process. Most drug treatment is in low dosages. This is wrong. Higher doses must be given to stop the flow of that unknown chemical. Schizophrenia can be treated effectively. One of the issues in treating the schizophrenic is that an adequate history has not been taken to recognize the severity of the stress crisis. Emphasis is currently placed on the current mental status. Plus the fact that many psychiatrists are inadequately trained. They only know to give medication, and then not in sufficient dosages. Psychiatry is basically organized ignorance.
Schizophrenia invariably affects young people under the age of 28. Typically individuals who drink alcohol or take drugs are not susceptible to the malfunctioning of the aforementioned chemicals. We suggest that the 'safety valve' effect of these drugs enables them to cope with stress and that by age 28 or so, the person has learned to cope with the panoply of stressful situations.
By contrast, the potential schizophrenic has no such safety valve and during and beyond puberty, various pressures continue to affect his chemical response until one day the dam bursts. A useful analogy is to compare stress to repeated attempts to blow up a balloon. At first it is strong enough to resist all attempts to the pressure to inflate it. However, if repeated pressure is applied, the balloon loses its ability to resist and it inflates rapidly. Once this natural resistance is broken, comparatively small pressures will change the shape of the balloon and inflate it. We liken the balloon to the human chemical complex. Once broken by pressure it has lost permanently, its ability to resist.
A significant number of people in every country on our planet suffer from that most debilitating of psychoses commonly called schizophrenia. The pain and suffering endured by both the patient and his/her family is heartbreaking and seemingly everlasting. In a world capable of landing men on the moon and exploring the outer reaches of our soar system, we are still seemingly unable to cure or successfully treat many of the problems that affect the human mind and body.
At this time it is useful to be aware that the world's pharmaceutical companies are investing billions of dollars in research and development into discovering treatments for diseases such as cancer, diabetes, lupus, and a multiplicity of mental disorders. Not a week goes by without some research group claiming to have made a significant breakthrough in the treatment of a major disease. When the discovery finally comes to market, after several years of phased testing, it can often produce unforeseen side effects or even be sidelined by a new treatment produced by a rival company.
The result we all see right there - in front of us is an apparently never ending stream of treatments but few cures. When cures do surface they are often serendipitous. Take the case of stomach ulcers which was cured by a physician by accident who discovered that ulcers occurred as a result of bacteria and could be cured by the appropriate use of antibiotics. Once the cat was 'out of the bag' it was too late to put it back. All the treatments for ulcer became redundant almost overnight.
What we observe as a general rule is a plethora of treatments for chronic medical issues whilst the actual diseases continue to flourish. Glaucoma and diabetes are treated in a number of ways, yet not only is no cure for either in sight, there exists no definite agreement on the cause of either. So for the present, 'treatments rule'. Until an incentive sufficiently great comes along our prediction that cures will appear comparatively rarely.
The next time you watch a person inflate a balloon by mouth you may be closer than you ever imagined to understanding how schizophrenia develops. The balloon may resist the pressure of the air to inflate several times until finally the resistance breaks down and the balloon inflates quite suddenly and dramatically. Once that initial resistance has been overcome, that same balloon will subsequently inflate very easily. We can equate the pressure of the air to inflate that balloon with stress in humans. Just as balloons vary in their ability to withstand pressure, so also humans vary in the degree and quality of pressure they are able to withstand.
The body is a chemical machine and a highly complex one at that. For example, estrogen and testosterone control our life. If we extend that analogy to include that of a car engine, we know that even after years of stress the engine will continue to function albeit imperfectly, even when many of the parts are worn, but when the electronic messaging components begin to break down the car behaves erratically and fails to function effectively or reliably. It is not possible to predict exactly which component in a car engine will begin the sequence of events which will ultimately lead to the catastrophic failure of the entire system, or referring to our previous analogy, which part of the wall of a balloon is likely to give up resistance first.
So it is with humans. What we do know with certainty is that stress is the precursor of psychosis. Each individual's psyche interprets different kinds of stress in different ways. A life event which one individual has learned to cope with may be interpreted as catastrophic in another. When a certain individual perceives an event to be catastrophic, the response is to release a chemical into the body system which overwhelms the normal functioning of the fight or flight response. The result is that a third response is triggered - psychosis. In its own misguided or distorted way this is a coping mechanism, since all mental and bodily responses to significant threat is designed to facilitate survival. The individual perceives various aspects of his being in a strange or distorted manner. He/she may for example imagine that the head is separated from the body. These imaginings are so 'real' that they blot out the event which caused the system to break down.
A chemical is being released into the system which takes the place of those normal chemical releases which the vast majority of humans naturally employ in stressful situations. At this time we are unaware of the nature of this chemical, but in all probability it is secreted in significant and continuous amounts through the adrenal gland which nature designed as that part of the machine to trigger survival activity. Researchers Osmond and Hoffer possibly were on the verge, as well as Hans Seyle, with the answer in their grasp, but didn't recognize it. Lower level responses which emanate through the body are what lay persons commonly called 'goose bumps' or 'goose flesh' or at a somewhat higher level of stress response, the histamine neck rash.
Much human behavior is controlled by chemical response to the overarching human drives of procreation and survival. Everyone is aware of the powerful influences that control our life such as estrogen, testosterone, adrenaline, insulin, and histamine to name but a few. At the micro level, the chemical response to the myriad of interactions which the human may encounter are legion, and it will be many years before all becomes clear and open to potential cure. The third and most negative response is the schizophrenic having a psychotic process.
These writers have observed thousands in the field of mental health and in the field of education. Together, we have been able to pool our joint experiences in our individual fields. We have been able to agree large measure that stress and the manner in which the individual psyche is able to deal or cope with that stress will determine whether or not that person's subsequent behavior will be deemed to fall within what society will term normal parameters.
In former times, when mental health was little understood, individuals who fell outside the norm were locked away in the asylum - sometimes even in chains, and their behavior ascribed to negative influences of the moon or earth spirits. Even today in some quarters mental health issues occupy a low priority in the societal hierarchy. There are exceptions, like the Menninger Clinic, which from our perspective is outstanding in the treatment of the mentally ill.
There are estimates that between 5% and 10% of the population suffer some degree of psychosis. Many are able to live relatively normal lives with the help of mood changing drugs. Lithium is most effective in the treatment of the mentally ill with the appropriate diagnosis. There are the patients who exhibit symptoms of depression and/or anxiety. However, for those whose balloon has burst, allowing that harmful chemical to flow constantly from the adrenal gland and flood the system, there is no agreed cure on the part of mainstream medicine, only treatments which offer partial relief. The medical establishment will admit to no cure. The major pharmaceuticals seem to concentrate their efforts on treatments rather than discovering a cure. Treatments are extremely lucrative because of course they require the patient to purchase the treatment forever! A cure, being a 'one off' event, is unlikely to be anywhere near as profitable. Whilst working in a closed environment for many years and by adapting the various treatments then in common use we were able to effectively treat the schizophrenic. It was possible to repair the balloon. In chemical terms the procedure was able to promote the re-establishment of normal chemical responses to the stresses of the 'human condition'.
We welcome inquiries from individuals and/or organizations who would have an interest in providing a discussion of our paper. Our claim has the potential to benefit greatly millions of sufferers throughout the world.
------------------------------------------ Content below added April 13, 2009 -------------------------------------------
''A Rose by any other name would smell as sweet'' W Shakespeare.
We have mentioned above that Schizophrenia is the result of a chemical malfunction of the Fight/Flight response in humans. When the subject perceives that a potential life threatening event is about to occur, he/she may have only a split second to decide how best to survive. The chemicals Histamine and Adrenaline are produced which heighten awareness very significantly and inform the subject how best to survive. Some subjects will take avoiding action, whilst others will make the decision to directly oppose the 'perceived threat'.
When this chemical response somehow 'fails' it is because (for reasons
not yet fully understood) the Histamine/adrenaline production is defective
or insufficient. It may be that another chemical is produced which is
unable to trigger the appropriate behavioural response. However, the overarching
imperative of the human organism is to survive. The behaviour can best
be described as being an overwhelming and inappropriate 'flight response'.
The subject retreats deep inside him/herself to the extent that the subject
typically becomes someone 'other' than him/herself. As a 'different' person
he is safe from the threatening environment which could so easily destroy
Every teacher has heard a myriad of excuses for pupils failure to produce 'homework'. In most cases the individual has simply chosen to indulge in an alternative activity. Yet when challenged will say -- ''couldn't do it', --- 'didn't know we had any', ---- 'lost the book', --- 'the baby ripped it up' and so on. Humans seem to have an innate ability to 'invent' survival strategies to fit threats large or small. The ones mentioned here are of course low-level, but the survival issues are included to illustrate the lengths to which the mind will travel to survive and thrive.
Societal norms have long attempted to impose what may be interpreted as anti-survivalist strictures---- like telling the 'truth'. Young children and adults alike manage to circumvent these societal recommendations with some ease. The mind nationalizes the situation and justifies the 'lie' in survivalist terms.
Humans, then, place survival (in its most broadly based interpretation) at the top of its list. The human, seen through the prism of a chemical machine will act every time in such a way as to provide itself an optimum chance of procreating. The Chronic Schizophrenic has become thus due to a chemical malfunction of the survivalist 'fight or flight' response in order to ''correct'' this malfunction another chemical needs to be introduced into the body to rectify the toxic response whose results are so evident in the behaviour of the Schizophrenic. The failure to become excited, the 'flat affect', the belief that behaviour is prompted by outside influences beyond the individual's control are all symptomatic of survival mechanisms which have 'gone wrong'.
The treatment of schizophrenia is imperfectly understood even by 'experts'. The mega-pharmaceuticals (as we have previously indicated) are overly influenced by the need to produce profit for shareholders. It follows that the medical establishment tends to follow the latest 'fadnew drug' approach, often in the mistaken view that they are 'helping' their patients. They do indeed wish to help them by offering these treatments, but we would maintain that it makes perfect sense in survivalist terms to make more money by providing a 'pill' for the rest of the patient's life, rather than providing a one off ''silver bullet'' which would render redundant any further need for medical intervention.
Let us examine what takes place at this time. Firstly it is worth saying that fewer cases of Schizophrenia are being reported. The literature tells us that young people who drink alcohol or take 'drugs' are less likely to become Schizophrenic. These substances (and we are not recommending them) provide a kind of 'safety valve' which assists the individual in times of perceived stress and which apparently wards off the onset of the chemical malfunction which otherwise would have caused the young person to be diagnosed Schizophrenic.
However, what we are seeing instead is the onset of 'new' diagnoses such as Bi-polar Disorder, Adjustment Disorder and Depression. Then again we can add Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder and Fibromyalgia.
In treating these 'new' disorders which may loosely be assigned as incomplete subvariants of Schizophrenia, there exists a hierarchy of treatment charges which insurance companies will pay for. Bipolar disorder is the most expensive and can take up to 27 visits. Contrast that with Adjustment disorder (three days!) and Depression 10 days---and one can readily see that the pressure on doctors to diagnose Bipolar is considerable. It's hugely more profitable for them.
Pharmaceutical companies are 'making hay' with these new disorders as one can imagine. Thus a 'silver bullet' cureall is the very last solution they are seeking.
The popular movie of a few years ago, ''Desperately Seeking Susan" gave the 'green light' to the respectability of mood changing drugs. ''Where's my vallium'' became the watchword of the time. It's OK to be on any of these things now was what society was led to believe and accept.
The importance of Estrogen and Testosterone are hugely underestimated. These two chemicals (and if 'rule the world' is too strong an assertion), they certainly determine the dynamic mood swings of all individuals. The mood swings of women in particular are overwhelmingly determined by the daily variations in their Estrogenic strength over the 28 day menstrual cycle. Men will peak twice daily, and intercourse will generally take place more frequently when both male and female display optimum levels of these powerful chemicals. Again this is chemistry taking a leading role in sex and survival and it should never be under estimated.
------------------------------------------ Content below added April 13, 2009 -------------------------------------------
We begin our memo by stating our overarching "belief platform" - namely, that the human body comprises a highly complex chemical machine. When the machine is working adequately the individual feels well and functions in a satisfactory manner. When the chemical balance is disturbed, for whatever reason, then the person is unwell and is unable to perform at optimum efficiency levels.
The human body is programmed to survive and procreate. In order to procreate the human has found it necessary to survive childhood and move into adolescence with sufficient life skills to be able to "compete" for a mate and then be able to produce "mature sperm" in order to complete the conceptual act. Society calls this process "growing up, falling in love, getting married and having a family". We would maintain that however one describes it, we are little from the Animal Kingdom in the way the vital stages of our lives are played out.
Humans are dominated by two hormones, estrogen and testosterone. Estrogen controls the mood and sexual "state of readiness" in the female and testosterone performs the same function in the male. It would appear (particularly to women!) that the male enjoys a steady state of sexual readiness, but our observations inform us that the male peaks twice daily in his desire to indulge in sexual activity. We add, purely for information and some contemplation, that the female appears to follow the lunar cycle of 28 days, whilst the male may well adhere more closely to tidal cycles of a twice daily hiatus!
These two hormones are as different as night and day and are largely responsible for the dynamic relationships between men and women. It would be the experience of most (if not all) readers of this memo, that the female will "go along" with the apparently insatiable sexual appetite of her partner, in order either maintain a stable relationship and/or to encourage him to provide material stability for the "nest" in the way of new furniture and materials generally considered to enhance the appearance and permanence of the home.
We shall return to this issue later when we discuss the optimum probabilities of conception. However, we next deal with the consequences of stress and how it often impacts itself on humans to produce aberrant mental state known as Schizophrenia.
It was mentioned earlier that humans are designed and programmed to survive in the face of negative or threatening situations. These threats emanate from the environment, either "natural" in the case of say an earthquake, or from humans, as in the case of a deliberate physical attack. The normal mechanism is to produce the "fight or flight" response. The situation can be confronted as a last resort - or avoided by hiding or running away. Usually this survival mechanism works well enough, but in some subjects this is not the case. There exists a hierarchy of physical and mental responses to actual or perceived threats which are initially activated by the adrenal gland.
The first one, which everyone has experienced some time or other is generally
known as feeling "goose bumps: - so called because the skin resembles
the skin of a goose with a myriad of tiny protuberances which result from
a stressful situation.
These first two are temporary in nature and normalize when the threat is seen to lessen or disappear.
The third response is psychosis and is the response to threat, real or perceived, an extreme nature.
Often the threat can be fear or failure (in an exam for example!) or shame resulting from a sexual experience.
Typically, the individual has been able to responds adequately to similar threats in the past. Our analogy is that of a balloon which resists all attempts to inflate it until one final push breaks the resistance and the balloon is permanently weakened to the extent that moderate pressure will inflate it. We call this "The Balloon Concept".
At this point, chemicals of an inappropriate composition flow into the system which negate the "fight or flight" response. The subject can neither fight nor flee. Instead he lives in a twilight zone which serves as a "distraction" to the threat. He may hallucinate, experience body distortion of some kind or become convinced he is in some "other" type of existence which is free from threat. He may imagine he/she is some powerful person who can repel the negative intrusions which beset him.
Clearly, these mechanisms arm at protecting the "self" by fleeing into an imaginary world, but which one perceived as being all too real for the psychotic subject.
The leading pharmaceutical companies have produced a number of treatments for this condition. One of these has netted huge profits for the parent company. More are in the pipeline. None of these produce a cure but at best alleviate the symptoms somewhat.
Better regimes are out there. One of them was produced many years ago during the 1960's to 1990's when many patients appeared to enjoy "permanent remission". The regimen was based on the amount/dosage of a known anti-psychotic drug. The results were highly significant in that they were successful. We would be most interested to know if other practitioners out there have similar experiences with dosages and anti-psychotic drugs. Please let us know.
Perhaps it is appropriate to mention that many of the Professional Associations appear to control the information available concerning treatments and alleged cures for various conditions. For example, control is exercised and membership denied to would be contributors who have not "published". They might argue that by so doing they are protecting the patient from frivolous or dubious practices. In the case discovery on how to bring Schizophrenic subjects into extended remission was denied the oxygen of publicity due to not having published his findings. In this particular contract of employment he was not publishing in order to protect the confidentiality of his patients.
Every medical doctor in America is aware of the influence of pharmaceutical companies. It is they who stand to gain or lose vast sums of money as a result of new discoveries. Clearly it is in their interests to ensure that such discoveries fall under their sphere of influence.
This latter point brings us neatly into our next topic, namely the treatment of Diabetes.
Ever since Banting & Best discovered how to treat Diabetes by injecting patients with insulin made from the pancreas of animals, millions of lives have been saved. However, insulin injections have been encouraged for use solely in Type I diabetes who produce no insulin of their own. Type II Diabetes are usually discouraged insulin use, and are instructed to use oral treatments - "tablets" - instead. These are a significant number of such oral treatments, such products are matched by rival pharmaceutical companies. Many patients know that these treatments are not wholly effective and do not reverse or cure the condition. New tablets raise hopes in patients for better control - but generally fail or deliver. The present writers are Type II Diabetics and can attest to these opinions. Type II patients are switching to an Insulin regime which give them excellent control and which is far less trouble. One injection (painless) each day is sufficient to give the patient control of his life once again without having to concern himself with tablets and "watching everything he eats" and feeling much better having adopted the insulin treatment format. One sleeps better and the mental alertness and general well-being is so much more "normal" that one is delighted having made the move.
Each patient must decide what to do in consultation with his/her own doctor. Of course, if all Type II patients expressed a wish to switch to insulin, there would doubtless be a barrage of counter-information, emanating from those entities who would "lose out".
To return to our assertion that the body is a chemical machine and that many illnesses are brought into being when the chemistry goes wrong, we would propose a further step - namely that stress is the overwhelmingly major contributor to chemical breakdown. This is particularly true in virtually all cases of mental illness, but there is ample anecdotal evidence to suggest that breakdown of the endocrine system is also a result of stress. The present authors, have spoken to many Type II diabetes and all without exception agreed that at the time of their diagnosis they were undergoing an extremely stressful situation.
Following the stress they often appeared to contract a virus which "refused" to clear up for some months. Is it not unreasonable to suggest that stress had weakened the pancreas in some way until it was unable to function adequately? The heredity factor may leave certain members of genetically related group, with a predisposition of pancreatic "weakness" when under stress. A similar case may be made for Lupus, which is seeing very large increases in prevalence.
Every school student knows that a chemical reaction can be reversed by introducing another appropriate chemical into the "mix"! Our belief is that to bring about "normal" chemical balance in an unbalanced chemical situation it is necessary to discover such chemicals and treat appropriately.
Our final topic for discussion is to inform on and dispel some basic misconceptions on the subject of conception - or how best to "make a baby"!
Many couples today "try" for a baby without success. Of course there may be a deep-seated problem in one or other or both the individuals concerned - but it is our experience that a few simple "rules", patiently applied, will often result in the pregnancy so much desired.
Finally, the couple needs to recognize that a female's conception mechanism operates on a 28 day cycle. Ovulation takes place half way through that cycle - on or about the 14th day. The "trick" is to allow mature sperm the opportunity to penetrate the ovum during the 12th, 13th and 14th day of the cycle. This is calculated by counting 12 days forward from the first "show" of the period. The next three days are those when optimum conditions occur for conception.
However, the male must ensure that he refrain from sexual activity during all other time periods. This is to enable his sperm to be "mature". Should he overindulge in sexual activity his sperm will be weak or immature and will not have the necessary capability to achieve conception. This is most important. Ignoring this advice will lead to repeated failure to achieve the desired outcome.
Should you apply these "rules" successfully please let us know.
We conclude by making an additional comment on the human condition.
All humans require four elements of support, a) acceptance, b) affection, c) attention and d) approval in order to function as a well balanced and useful member of society. Should any or all of these elements be lacking, the individual will display a variety of negative attitudes. Male homosexuality can frequently result from a hostile mother failing to provide the supportive elements. Fear of women can drive a male into unnatural relationships and especially physical harm to the child by the mother. This is a controversial area. However, that is our position.
From our position on all these issues we maintain that a "big picture" emerges.
In every case, the chemical problem situation results from a threat from the environment to one or more survival mechanisms. Some impact directly on the mind and produce mental illness. Others, impact on other systems - in particular the endocrine system. All produce aberrant chemical reactions which cause or result in a hierarchy of mental and physical illness.
The underlying principle is really very simple to grasp. However, the
solutions, though ultimately achievable, promise to be highly complex
and require much research and clinical experience. Above all, scientific
research needs to be motivated by a focused desire to cure rather than
------------------------------------------ Content below added April 14, 2009 -------------------------------------------
The following is an email I received in response to the first part of this article, and is published with their permission:
I have just read the article 'schizophrenia - the balloon concept'
Anyway, I felt that looking at the problem of understanding
Robert Jack Eardley, M.D.
Robert Francis Eardley, Cert. Ed., B.A.