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Cognitive Implications of a “Journey Through Madness”

November 20th, 2020 No comments

Misconceptions about schizophrenia

Elyn Saks, an accomplished Professor of Law, Psychology, and Psychiatry and the Behavioral Sciences at University of Southern California Gould School of Law, has lived with schizophrenia for her entire life.  In her memoir, “The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness”, Saks explains that the cognitive nature of her illness was a large factor in her decision to write a book. She speaks out about how she has struggled every single day living with this disorder, yet she was ultimately incredibly cognitively and professionally successful.  Her disorder made it very difficult to hold attention in class or on school work when she was having a schizophrenic episode, and her diminished memory abilities made her work and relationships endure a different level of impairment. Elyn struggled with schizophrenia at a time when mental health was not at the forefront of societal concerns as it is today, and all of the symptoms she dealt with left her feeling alone and depressed, as making and keeping emotional connections with others was quite a troublesome task for her.  So, here is an incredibly accomplished woman working at a prestigious institution who has endured a debilitating disorder that is stereotypically portrayed and misunderstood with a connotation of violent, dangerous, and potentially crazy individuals.  The impressive work that Saks has done in sharing her story has contributed significantly to reducing the stigma of schizophrenia and has provided useful information in terms of the efficacy of various forms of treatment for the disorder, and you can click here to learn more about the efficacy of psychological treatment in schizophrenia.  My interest focused on how this crippling disorder affects individuals’ cognitive processes, in particular considering the detrimental effects it has on both memory and attention.

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