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Inside Schizophrenia: Before and After Treatment

© Abram Hoffer MD, PhD
 (Excerpted from the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine)

This is what happened in this patient's case. It is likely that had she not started on the orthomolecular regimen, she would have spent the rest of her life in and out of institutions, or in and out of the streets, until she would have died by suicide, by exhaustion, or by homicide. Had she been able to survive, she would cost the province of B.C. two million dollars. A few pennies' worth of vitamin B3 and vitamin C cured her 'personality disorder'. This is something even the greatest proponent of megavitamin therapy had never claimed. She was schizophrenic, the diagnosis was missed, and she was nearly destroyed. She herself knew what her diagnosis was. During the first interview she told me that she had read the American Psychiatric Diagnostic Manual, had compared what was written about schizophrenia and what was written about BPD and exclaimed, 'I matched schizophrenia, not BPD.'

The following is the patient's account of her illness prepared in November and December, 1995.

A. Hoffer M.D., Ph.D.


The warning signals were evident by age 14. 'Early sexual abuse' and 'inadequate parenting' were cited as precipitators of the symptoms (I certainly dispute both as possibilities). Nightmares, vague fears and insecurities were what I reported to various counselors and one psychologist. As time passed, I was able to be more specific in my expressions. I feared best friends were aliens and I anxiously awaited evidence of their traitorship. I had an enemy - a man, tall, heavy set, his face cast with shadow. Only I saw him tower above me, wielding a knife, threatening. When I did not see him, I otherwise sensed his presence; felt his arm brush my sleeve, heard his footsteps trace my path. Sheer panic alternately paralyzed and energized me. After a successful escape, I would wither at my front door - upon realizing he was now inside. Regular episodes of terrorizing delusions were destroying my last measures of security. I learned to effectively, though temporarily, numb the pain. Bashing my head and body on sinks and walls, cutting my arms... Peace eluding me, suicide became an option. After high school, I did find times of respite. I became accustomed to my peculiar experiences and worked around them as necessary.

At 20 years of age, severe confusion and depression forced me to withdraw from social circles and from work. Debilitating fatigue had set in. Isolated again, I discovered a strange companionship in my own brain. It seemed to me I had two brains. I wondered whether they were two levels of consciousness, conversing with each other. When these chattered at an increasingly loud volume or fast note, I would beg them to cease. I could no longer control and direct my own thinking. I felt controlled. My brain was working with or without me. At times, my newly independent brain shut down entirely. No thoughts or images would occur. Therefore I was unable to either speak or move at times. I was terrified again.

Other experiences included being invisible, floating and dissociating. I did not recognize my own face in the mirror, and my body parts detached themselves from my core... At the most debilitating point of my illness, I was barely able to lift myself from bed for three months. A shower, until I gave up on taking one all together, exhausted me, forcing me to sleep on the bathroom floor.

After progressing to the point of eating one meal and bathing in a single day, I began to research. Eventually, a Naturopath placed me on an anti-candida diet. Recovery! And three weeks later severe depression set in. For another year I battled hallucinations, (visual and auditory), persecutory delusions, resulting anxiety attacks and debilitating fatigue.

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About The Author
In pursuing this research we were the first physicians in America to conduct double blind controlled tests, and we were later the first to recognize and to publish its many defects and flaws. By 1967 we had established some of the roots of orthomolecular medicine. The word itself was coined in 1968 by Linus Pauling. His remarkable influence played a major role.Our discovery that......more
 
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