Thursday, January 13, 2011

Psychiatrist declares Loughner to be a paranoid schizophrenic

Schizophrenia is a brain disorder that affects the way a person acts, thinks, and sees the world. People with schizophrenia have an altered perception of reality, often a significant loss of contact with reality. They may see or hear things that don’t exist, speak in strange or confusing ways, believe that others are trying to harm them, or feel like they’re being constantly watched. With such a blurred line between the real and the imaginary, schizophrenia makes it difficult—even frightening—to negotiate the activities of daily life. In response, people with schizophrenia may withdraw from the outside world or act out in confusion and fear.

Q: Quite early in the news cycle, the media more or less diagnosed Jared Loughner as paranoid schizophrenic. Do you think that's accurate?

A: He's a textbook case.
Q: I was struck by his obsession with "lucid dreaming."

A: When someone comes in and talks about lucid dreaming, drugs are the first thing I wonder about. But with schizophrenia, you can get almost anything that's weird like that. In itself, it didn't stand out to me.

If he's such a textbook case, then it would have been easy for a shrink to simply observe him, such as by sitting in on a class of his, and make a diagnosis. There were students and teachers in fear for their lives, and the school administration couldn't even be bothered to have a shrink look into the situation. But then perhaps they did get some shrinks involved, but the wrong kind. Also of interest is the fact that the authorities so far haven't explained how Loughner could afford a Glock, which is an expense gun for someone out of a minimum-wage job.