A new link was added today under the category of Mens Rea. While DJP does not subscribe to the dream theory referenced by the title, or the stress as trigger theory on the periphery, most of the central theory is worthy of consideration – that psychosis may well be a sleep disorder of sorts, involving a hinterland between somnolence and wakefulness, where the mechanisms regulating these states of consciousness become grossly disordered. Personal accounts of people who have recovered some insight into their illness after treatment or observers of people in acute crisis states of psychosis strongly suggest that psychosis or Schizophrenia in particular is not just a composite of the more commonly known symptoms. Delusions, hallucinations, and thought disorder is just not enough to explain what is going on where acts of self-harm or violence toward others is concerned.
There are numerous references to psychosis as disorder of waking consciousness in the content on our pages. Many of the very strange symptoms of Schizophrenia are strongly suggestive of consciousness disorder. Schizophrenia is often described in such way that fails to convey the severity of the disease at its worse. A web search of the disorder returns the following description of Schizophrenia: “A disorder that affects a person’s thinking, emotions, and behavior”. The prospect of psychosis being a disorder of waking consciousness is what makes criminalization so abhorrent and barbaric – that we may be punishing people for unlawful acts under the control of a brain that is not in a normal state of wakefulness. We consider that defendants who are observed to have engaged in premeditation of violent acts, who are convicted for “knowing what they are doing” or who are found “Guilty but mentally ill” were in a severely impaired state of consciousness.
The manner in which people in the throes of psychosis describe their thoughts and sensory experiences reflect something that is clearly outside the realm of a normal state of experiencing wakefulness. People who engage in strange acts of bodily harm, such as autoenucleation, or gruesome acts of violence toward others, explain their thoughts and actions in distinctively peculiar ways. Psychosis has a certain “signature” that the discerning or trained eye or ear can instantly perceive. As we have said before, we look to neuroscientists to help us understand the horror of how the criminal justice system is abusing people afflicted with psychotic illness, and the disgrace of how society is failing to care for people with these afflictions.