In a recent article, “Form of CBT Can Improve Stubborn Psychosis Symptoms“, by Mark Moran, it is stated that
Patients with schizophrenia having the most severe negative symptoms appear to endorse certain defeatist and asocial beliefs, as well as have low expectations of success or pleasure, characteristics that may be amenable to a form of cognitive-behavioral therapy.
That’s important because the severe negative symptoms of “deficit-syndrome” patients have been presumed by some to be the result of neurobiological deficits that often do not respond either to antipsychotic medication or to standard psychosocial treatments. The “deficit syndrome” is thought to characterize a pathophysiologically distinct subgroup of patients with schizophrenia whose negative symptoms—blunted affect, anhedonia, avolition, and asociality—are enduring features that do not appear to be secondary to other aspects of schizophrenia.
But in an address titled “Defeatist Beliefs, Asocial Beliefs, and Low Expectations: The Emerging Cognitive Behavioral Science of Negative Symptoms and the Deficit Syndrome” at the International Congress of Schizophrenia Research (ICOSR), Paul Grant, Ph.D., described preliminary research showing that these chronic patients appear to endorse negative beliefs that may respond to goal-directed cognitive therapy.
This is interesting for two reasons.
One is that if offers hope that some professionals may finally be figuring out how to help people who have these kinds of problems, rather than just theorizing that nothing can be done.
But the second reason it is interesting is that it gives us an opportunity to contemplate for a minute the “negative symptoms” that the mental health system typically manifests in relation to people diagnosed with schizophrenia.
- defeatist beliefs – such as the belief that people with this diagnosis will never recover.
- asocial beliefs – such as the belief that one shouldn’t talk with people with this diagnosis in any detail about their unusual experiences or perspectives.
- anhedonia – such as never taking any joy in the positive aspects of psychotic experience or noticing the creative potential of people who get diagnosed.
- avolition – such as, no motivation to try and understand the person or to provide psychological therapy
I’m not condemning the mental health system for having these “symptoms” but just emphasizing that these are human problems, and we all can fall victim to them, and when we do, it’s great if someone helps us get free of them!
And I do suggest reading the article, free at Form of CBT Can Improve Stubborn Psychosis Symptoms