The 1971 edition of the British Journal of Medical Psychology (BJMP) was also interesting. A quick review by me turned up still no mention of medications to treat schizophrenia. True, it a psychology journal, but, as psychiatrists contribute many of the articles, the lack of reference to medication is noted in passing. There are fewer articles about schizophrenia than in the 1961 edition and there is an article about cigarette smoking as a dependence disorder. Shades of the proliferation of medical diagnoses for human habits are beginning to creep in.
What the 1971 BJMP continues to do is to look at the environmental underpinnings of schizophrenia, including the pre-birth environment. This is commendable, and seems to have become a lost art, if my experience with psychiatrists and institutions is any indicator. When Chris was first diagnosed, I expressed my concerns to the doctors about Chris’s gestation period, his not being responsive to touch as an infant, and other things that I thought were possibly relevant to his present state. The doctors discounted my questions as irrelevant. It is a brain disease and has to be treated with medications, was the response.
Not so with the BJMP. In an article entitled “Aspects of the object relationship and developing skills of a ‘mechanical boy’ the authors relate the story of a mentally ill young boy and follow him through several years of therapy to emerge at 19 as a social success. The boy’s pre-birth environment was considered, his confusion at having multiple mothers (grandmother, aunt and mother) until the age of ten, and his seeing himself as a machine. His movements were robot-like and he was fascinated by machinery, even drawing complex machines that uncannily ressembled the functioning of the human brain. The authors see his problems not in terms of genetics or brain dysfunctions, but as a human coping mechanism, a child trying to make sense of his environment: “Apparently, at age 19 he is a sociable young man . . . far different from the mechanistic boring youth he had been before.” No longer clumsy and uncoordinated, he had both a job and a girlfriend.*
The 1992 BJMP is less focused on case studies of schizophrenia than the 1961 and 1971 journal. A small reference to medication appears in an article entitled “Mysticism: The fate of Ben Zoma.” The authors note that hallucinations persisted after receiving low doses of neuroleptic medication, and they wonder “if increased medication would make the hallucinations disappear.”
The March 2003 edition presents research on past-life experiences of young children. Children reporting past life experiences tend to have both high intelligence quotients and verbal skills. It notes that the behavior problems (agression, traumatizing fears and hallucinations, etc.) seen in some of the research subjects increased if the past-life experience centered around a violent death. It also puzzled over how birthmarks are sometimes seen to be in the exact place where an ancestor or person associated with the past-life had suffered a trauma.
Interesting that the results of this kind of research find their way into respected journals of psychology but seem to have no place in today’s hospital setting.
* Br. J. Med. Psychology, 44-45, 1972-72