Computational Psychiatry – Redefining Disorders

Computational Psychiatry – Re-Defining Mental Disorders

Montague: If you’re going to say that you’re hearing a voice, then it needs to be voices that are either prerecorded or that you’re actually hearing in a room. Anything else, then we start to worry about whether we should give you drugs or institutionalize you.

When it comes to diseases of the mind, sometimes there may be a fine line between what we call normal and what is not. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

Montague: That’s the way we segue into mental illness. I declare you to be mentally ill because we don’t live in a culture where hearing voices is normal enough that we have structures that we’ve built up to absorb that.

Read Montague is the director of the Computational Psychiatry Unit at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute. He and his colleagues are re-examining how we categorize and treat mental disorders.

Montague: We all talk to ourselves. We all have this internal voice, and yet it is a red flag for schizophrenia and various forms of psychosis assigning the wrong kind of meaning to that internal voice. That’s a pretty subtle designation, and certainly, a hundred years ago, we were willing to do awful things to people based on that. We’re a little more sensitive to it now.
We have a blunt category that we call a “disease state”. So, you’re hearing voices, and I’m hearing voices. And I act on mine in ways that no one finds acceptable, and you act on yours in ways that everyone finds acceptable. Let’s say you’re a South American novelist and you write magical realism. You make a million dollars, and I get to go get locked up in the local bin. “Disease” is the trigger word. I think we have to stop being so black and white about it. Many, many features of our normal cognition, if quantitatively changed turned way up or turned way down could be called a disease state. And so instead of just saying they have a disease and throwing a drug down their throat that may or may not be effective, because we don’t know how to even classify what’s wrong with them that’s the first thing to start correcting.

Pulse of the Planet is made possible in part by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.

Computational Psychiatry - Redefining Disorders

When it comes to diseases of the mind, sometimes there may be a fine line between what we call normal and what is not.
Air Date:03/04/2014
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Transcript:

Computational Psychiatry - Re-Defining Mental Disorders

Montague: If you're going to say that you're hearing a voice, then it needs to be voices that are either prerecorded or that you're actually hearing in a room. Anything else, then we start to worry about whether we should give you drugs or institutionalize you.

When it comes to diseases of the mind, sometimes there may be a fine line between what we call normal and what is not. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

Montague: That's the way we segue into mental illness. I declare you to be mentally ill because we don't live in a culture where hearing voices is normal enough that we have structures that we've built up to absorb that.

Read Montague is the director of the Computational Psychiatry Unit at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute. He and his colleagues are re-examining how we categorize and treat mental disorders.

Montague: We all talk to ourselves. We all have this internal voice, and yet it is a red flag for schizophrenia and various forms of psychosis assigning the wrong kind of meaning to that internal voice. That's a pretty subtle designation, and certainly, a hundred years ago, we were willing to do awful things to people based on that. We're a little more sensitive to it now.
We have a blunt category that we call a "disease state". So, you're hearing voices, and I'm hearing voices. And I act on mine in ways that no one finds acceptable, and you act on yours in ways that everyone finds acceptable. Let's say you're a South American novelist and you write magical realism. You make a million dollars, and I get to go get locked up in the local bin. "Disease" is the trigger word. I think we have to stop being so black and white about it. Many, many features of our normal cognition, if quantitatively changed turned way up or turned way down could be called a disease state. And so instead of just saying they have a disease and throwing a drug down their throat that may or may not be effective, because we don't know how to even classify what's wrong with them that's the first thing to start correcting.

Pulse of the Planet is made possible in part by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.