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Our Most Troubling MadnessCase Studies in Schizophrenia Across Cultures$
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T.M. Luhrmann and Jocelyn Marrow

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780520291089

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520291089.001.0001

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(p.197) Conclusion
Our Most Troubling Madness

Jocelyn Marrow

T. M. Luhrmann

University of California Press

Schizophrenia is a disorder with causes that are endogenous to the body including genetic vulnerability and the decay of neuronal connections. However, there is evidence that individual vulnerability to psychosis is increased by the experiences of discrimination, despair, trauma, and failure. Drawing upon epidemiology and animal biology, this chapter argues that repeated social defeat increases the risk of developing psychosis. Further, social defeat, especially in the United States, is a regular experience of those who who live with a serious mental illness. The case studies of persons with psychosis in this volume illustrate the social and cultural factors that may be responsible for outcomes. How psychosis is understood, whether available work can accommodate the ill individual, the type of family involvement, the social and cultural backdrop, and the meaning of symptoms are factors that mitigate or exacerbate illness. The final section of this chapter presents some recommendations for how the lives of those with psychosis might be improved.

Keywords:   Culture, Social environment, Psychosis, Social defeat, Illness outcomes, Schizophrenia

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