Schizophrenia: Question “Deterioration of Brain” Due to Negative Symptoms

1. Simplistic explanation: if you don’t use your brain, it’s like a muscle it atrophies over time.

2. Increasing the activity of the brain increases its bulk.

3. The “cause” of the inactivity has to do with the negative symptoms. The sequence is defeatist attitudes–> reduced motivation–> reduced activity. The reduction in acidity involves diminished focusing, diminished short-term memory, and diminished flexibility (executive function).

4. Despite the brain atrophy, individuals can be brought up to a normal level of functioning, so that they can participate in plays, clubs, talent shows, etc. They are also able to polish up old complex skills, such as driving a car.

5. These activities, such as driving a car, all involve activation of memory attention and flexibility. Thus, these abilities have not been lost.

6. When a person is huddled in a corner, staring at the wall, and listening to voices, it appears that the normal functioning has been dulled or lost; however, when engaged in a meaningful activity, the individuals are able to appear animated (increase in affect), participating interacting and utilizing skills.

7. What constitutes “meaningful activity” has to do with the fulfillment of the individual’s basic needs for security, belonging, independence, self-respect, etc.

8. At the very least, the individual has sufficient cortical matter left to be able to function at a higher level. The question has to do with whether there is a limitation due to the remediable atrophy.

9. The theoretical question has to do with what aspects of the personality are activated when the individual is actively engaged in a meaningful activity. I have proposed, in the past, that when the individual is involved in a “normal mode,” he appears, acts, thinks, and feels normal, and has normal emotions and motivations.

10. If this is true, then the trick becomes: how to keep the individual in the normal mode?

-ATB