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Need information regarding hallucinatory diseases Answered

I'm doing research for a novel and one of the characters is schizophrenic, or whichever form of disorder would best suit the plot. A have a few questions regarding the nature of schizophrenia, and wikipedia can only help so much:

What are the main causes of schizophrenia? Is it possible to be brought on by trauma or through nurture? Or is it mainly genetic?

Just how realistic are such hallucinations? What is the level of interactivity between the person and hallucination? I.e. Would it be possible for a schizophrenic to imagine an entire person (like an imaginary friend, only much more real)? And if it's possible to hallucinate an entire being, could they, say, carry out a conversation?

How difficult is it for an average schizophrenic to differentiate hallucination and reality? If someone has a recurring hallucination, will they eventually realize it is a hallucination and not reality?

What is the probability that only one type of hallucination would be present (like, going along with the imaginary friend bit, that the person would only see the friend and wouldn't have any other hallucinations)?


Please realize that this is a work of fiction and a bit of artistic license may be applied. I thank you greatly for any light you can shed on this matter.

-Y

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lemonie
lemonie

11 years ago

"or whichever form of disorder would best suit the plot".
Roughly what kind of condition does the plot require? You want a reality/fiction split, but this is required to be caused by a recognised condition?

L

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dungeon runner
dungeon runner

Answer 11 years ago

As you might have guessed from my question, the plot requires that the hallucinator be able to imagine an entire, high-level interactivity (can talk to it, can sense it with sound, touch, etc.), human being. This "imaginary friend" would be a recurring hallucination, follows the character throughout most of his life, and could conceivably be mistaken for a real person if sensed by anyone else.

As I said above, I will explain the plot in more detail if need be.

-Y

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lemonie
lemonie

Answer 11 years ago

So they don't have to have a recognised condition? Just go with what you've got, let people think what the will of the character and make their own diagnosis.

L

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dungeon runner
dungeon runner

Answer 11 years ago

That seems fair to me. I really just didn't want to get my basic facts wrong. It really ticks me off when television and movies get things way off about Aspbergers (diagnosed at age four), so I wanted to be precise.

-Y

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lemonie
lemonie

Answer 11 years ago

I should not try to stick to facts in a work of fiction, unless a specific condition is necessary. People will think they're (this/that) you can leave it undefined, if the character's story is not tied to a diagnosis.
Psychiatrists like naming things, diagnose something new and you might get your name on it. Person says "what's wrong with me/my child?" they don't want "well some-sort-of..." they want "It's this.".
For the purposes of your work I don't think you need a diagnosis and you'll be creatively freer without one.

L

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dungeon runner
dungeon runner

Answer 11 years ago

Thanks for the insight. I really hope this thing goes somewhere.

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blkhawk
blkhawk

11 years ago

There is a great movie, A Beautiful Mind, with actor Russel Crow and Jennifer Connely. It is based on the actual life of an university professor, although a brilliant man he suffered from schizophrenia. It has been said that it is the best movie made about the subject.

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Kiteman
Kiteman

11 years ago

As a plot device, you only need to specify the condition if the story requires that the character be diagnosed or treated successfully.

Even then, the range of symptoms, and level of those symptoms, associated with mental disorders is enormous, which is why some patients end up being labelled with their symptoms rather than the name of a disease.

The causes are many and varied as well - physical and emotional traumas, viral conditions, dehydration, poisoning...

(Kitewife's grandmother spent a few weeks a whole generation out of synch with reality when she had a viral ear infection.)

Otherwise, you character can merely experience the level of hallucination required for the story without anybody having to say "uh-oh, the schizophrenia is kicking in again!".


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dungeon runner
dungeon runner

Answer 11 years ago

Thanks for the insight. I realized after writing this that I probably wouldn't have to get the exact diagnosis correct. As for treatment, the character really only got minimal treatment for his condition, maybe because of poverty, misdiagnosis, or maybe his parents had some dogma against normal medical practices, I haven't quite worked out the details. I have never been diagnosed with (had some close calls though) or known someone else diagnosed with such a disorder, so I don't know much about how it would be treated and what certain measures would be taken for certain levels of hallucination. Back to wikipedia.

(I would explain the plot in more detail, if it would help anyone.)

-Y

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Re-design
Re-design

11 years ago

Wow, You're going down the same path I took 20 years ago.  Except my was not about hallucination.  I didn't have the internet then so I had to go to libraries etc.

You have the internet in front of you and basically have the accumulated knowledge and experience of the world at you finger tips

Use g00gle to find your answers.  Then you can pick and choose what you want to use.  I think you'll be happy with the result.

Hint, I'd answer YES to most of your questions already.  Now go out and find the rest of the story.

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FriendOfHumanity
FriendOfHumanity

11 years ago

 It's all about cats.

www.schizophrenia.com/prevention/cats.html

members.forbes.com/forbes/2006/1211/048.html

www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/01/060125082853.htm

I can't find it at the moment but I remember reading about how cats carry a virus that affects the behaviour of mice, (they lose their fear of cats).
The drugs that we use to treat schizophrenia cured the mice and the link was made....or something like that ; but read around using the links above and maybe introduce Felix as the next character.




images-2.jpeg
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RavingMadStudios
RavingMadStudios

Answer 11 years ago

That's really kind of fascinating.