BBC videos on isolation and hallucinations

Found these fascinating videos , they are excerpts from a BBC documentary, where they placed people in isolation ( in darkness) for 48 hours. Many started hallucinating. The Dr commented that in a lack of sensory environment, the brain stilll has to function, so it continues to create and work regardless.

So how helpful is solitary confinement for mentally ill one must ask? Many voice hearers will attest to the fact that isolation, and lack of sleep, and also late at night voices are often worse( when awake in the dark)

Here is the first http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfdN_megX4E&feature=fvwrel
in the second one you see them experiencing hallucinations http://www.youtube.com/watch?

v=0nnekxGE0nM&feature=fvwrel
The third one, they are tested afterwards, and their mental capabilities have deteriorated http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ewX-4eIomM&feature=relmfu

RAIN OF THE CHILDREN- BY VINCENT WARD on Maori TV tonight Sunday 4th July 8.30pm

Rain of the Children  a great New Zealand drama documentary made by New Zealander Vincent Ward is showing on Maori TV tonight Sunday 4th July in NZ at 8.30pm. You can see the trailer below

I reviewed it in one of the HVN newsletters. Here is my review

” Rain of the Children is a fascinating movie. It is the telling of the story of a Tuhoe woman Puhi. Vincent Ward stayed with Puhi and her mentally ill son when he was first starting out as a film maker. The movie includes footage that he took at this time.

This latest movie is his attempt to go back and tell the story of the life of Puhi and her son Nikki and to make sense of it. Puhi was the bride of the son of the Maori prophet Rua Kenana.  The movie contains excellent photos of the settlement they built. Creating a fascinating rendition of the life that Puhi led. It carefully illustrates the trauma and upheaval that the Maori people faced during the colonisation of New Zealand.  Everything about their former way of lives were challenged, their religion, beliefs, and their very survival as many of their people died from disease brought by the European settlers.

Amongst the trauma, Puhi has many events happen that lead everyone to believe that she has been cursed. She is shown years later walking along constantly praying, to keep the curse from affecting her and her family.

Her son hears voices. According to the movie, one day he became lost in the forest. He was lost for several days. When he was finally found and returned to his family  he was hearing voices. He also had a very special bond with animals and his family believed that he had been taken by the “Patupairehe”and explores some of Maori beliefs in this area.

  It is a mixture of re-enactment and actual footage, which together creates a story that is well worth watching, if only to gain a better understanding of what Maori went through at the time and to wonder how these effects may be felt today.”

A great watch.

David Rosenhans Experiment

Wikipedia site states that David Ronsehan conducted this experiment in 1973, where he sent volunteers into Psychiatric hospitals , to prove that the diagnostic and treatment regime was no good. it says this

Rosenhan himself and eight mentally healthy associates, called “pseudopatients”, attempted to gain admission to psychiatric hospitals by calling for an appointment and feigning auditory hallucinations. The hospital staffs were not informed of the experiment. The pseudopatients were a psychology graduate student in his twenties, three psychologists, a pediatrician, a psychiatrist, a painter and a housewife. None had a history of mental illness. Pseudopatients used pseudonyms, and those who worked in the mental health field were given false jobs in a different sector to avoid invoking any special treatment or scrutiny. Apart from giving false names and employment details, further biographical details were truthfully reported.

During their initial psychiatric assessment, they claimed to be hearing voices of the same sex as the patient which were often unclear, but which seemed to pronounce the words “empty”, “hollow”, “thud” and nothing else. These words were chosen as they vaguely suggest some sort of existential crisis and for the lack of any published literature referencing them aspsychotic symptoms. No other psychiatric symptoms were claimed. If admitted, the pseudopatients were instructed to “act normally,” report that they felt fine and no longer heard voices. Hospital records obtained after the experiment indicate that all pseudopatients were characterized as friendly and cooperative by staff.

All were admitted, to 12 different psychiatric hospitals across the United States, including rundown and underfunded public hospitals in rural areas, urban university-run hospitals with excellent reputations, and one expensive private hospital. Though presented with identical symptoms, 11 were diagnosed with schizophrenia at public hospitals, and one with manic-depressive psychosis, a more optimistic diagnosis with better clinical outcomes, at the private hospital. Their stays ranged from 7 to 52 days, and the average was 19 days. All were discharged with a diagnosis of schizophrenia “in remission,” which Rosenhan takes as evidence that mental illness is perceived as an irreversible condition creating a lifelong stigma rather than a curable illness.

Then in a twist when one hospital claimed that there is no way they would so such a thing, he did this:

The non-existent impostor experiment

For this experiment, Rosenhan used a well-known research and teaching hospital, whose staff had heard of the results of the initial study but claimed that similar errors could not be made at their institution. Rosenhan arranged with them that during a three month period, one or more pseudopatients would attempt to gain admission and the staff would rate every incoming patient as to the likelihood they were an impostor. Out of 193 patients, 41 were considered to be impostors and a further 42 were considered suspect. In reality, Rosenhan had sent no pseudopatients and all patients suspected as impostors by the hospital staff were genuine patients. This led to a conclusion that “any diagnostic process that lends itself too readily to massive errors of this sort cannot be a very reliable one”. Studies by others found similarly problematic diagnostic results.

He published the results in SCIENCE.

Here is an excerpt from the BBC Documentary THE TRAP, about it.