For many young people who develop Schizophrenia goals and aspirations are often neglected or given up on because of the severity and range of symptoms. Often associated with the disease are positive symptoms, auditory and/or visual hallucinations, delusional thinking, and beliefs. These things are most frequently associated with the Schizophrenia Spectrum because they are misunderstood by the general public and are very often exemplified on tv and in films. But are the negative symptoms (lack of interest and motivation, as well as flat affect and loss of socialization) overlooked and oversimplified?
A recent article in Science Daily, covering research by University of Nevada, Las Vegas, suggests that this may be the case. Positive symptoms are often the first to be treated, and perhaps that is because they are most typically treated with medication. But this same medication may not easily treat negative symptoms. However new treatment protocol may increase emphasis on behavioral interventions and therapies as well as traditional treatments with antipsychotics and other psychiatric medications.
- Gregory P. Strauss, Alicia Nuñez, Anthony O. Ahmed, Kimberly A. Barchard, Eric Granholm, Brian Kirkpatrick, James M. Gold, Daniel N. Allen. The Latent Structure of Negative Symptoms in Schizophrenia. JAMA Psychiatry, 2018; DOI: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2018.2475
- University of Nevada, Las Vegas. (2018, November 27). Keep it complex: Study shows that previous research oversimplified Schizophrenia symptoms. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 26, 2018 from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/11/181127171402.htm
I’ve done two solid years of DBT, the acronym of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. And thanks to the groundbreaking work of Marsha M. Linehan, I’m here today. I can say, with utter truth, that DBT played a huge and integral part in my recovery, and has really shaped me into the person I am today. DBT took me from a place of impulsivity to one frequent peace with myself and my emotions. It wasn’t until after DBT that I began to apply a great deal of importance to inner peace. I want to share these things with people who may also benefit from them. With that said this is Lessons from DBT: Wise Mind and Mindfulness.
Wise Mind is this beautiful intersection between Rational Mind and Emotional Mind. These two mind states can wreak havoc on your life in you exist too extremely in on or the other. For example, finding yourself only existing in Rational Mind, you might be cold, withdrawn, and lacking empathy. You could be slow to act and struggle to make decisions. While existing only in Emotional Mind you could find yourself acting emotionally impulsive. Jumping to conclusions and letting your emotions dictate your actions. You can see how an unbalanced life could quickly spiral out of control.
This is where Wise Mind comes in. Offering a way to draw from both mind states while not relying on one or the other too fiercely. When I started DBT I was trapped in Emotional Mind nearly all of the time. Acting on one impulsion and then another. Following my psychotic delusions to their end. And, ultimately, putting myself in danger.
I think Marsha Linehan put Wise Mind best when she says, “Wise Mind is like having a heart, everyone has one, whether they experience it or not.” I found, when learning about Wise Mind and becoming acquainted with it, it was best to start with breathing exercises. If you can imagine Wise Mind at the bottom of your stomach you can almost feel Wise Mind growing inside of you as you breathe. Sort of like the calm after the storm.
Try to recognize when your mind state is tipped in one direction or another. I great way to do this is practicing writing down what you are feeling when you are upset, feeling anxious, in crisis, or in my case, experiencing hallucinations. This way, once you have recognized your mind state Rational Mind or Emotional Mind, you will be able to take a step back and begin practicing breathing exercises. Imagining Wise Mind growing inside of your body and bringing with it a calm.
Try the 5-7-5 pattern (it’s a personal favorite). Which is inhaling on the 5, exhaling on the 7, and inhaling again on the 5. This exercise should be repeated for as long as you need it for and until you find yourself in a better place and you can think more clearly.