|Psychiatric Patients with Truman Show Delusion|
|SciMed - Neuroscience|
|TS-Si News Service|
|Monday, 25 June 2012 06:00|
New York, NY, USA. Several psychiatric patients think their lives are filmed and broadcast like The Truman Show. Three of them even refer to the movie by name.
Millions of words have been written about the effect of Reality TV on our cultural and social lives. Much less discussed are the possible interior ramifications such forms of broadcasting can have on our minds.
The Truman Show depicted Jim Carrey’s character as a man unaware that the intimate details of his life are being shown every day to a global audience of millions. As the realisation of his true predicament gradually dawns, he begins to exhibit symptoms and behaviors indistinguishable from what the real world would understand as a persecutory delusion. The closer to the truth he gets, the crazier he seems.
Joel Gold, M.D. is Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the NYU School of Medicine and was an Attending Psychiatrist at Bellevue Hospital Center for nine years, where he continues to teach and supervise training psychiatrists.
He is a Research Fellow at the Center for Urban Epidemiologic Studies (CUES) of the New York Academy of Medicine and has a private practice in Manhattan.
Ian Gold, PhD, is the Canada Research Chair in Philosophy and Psychiatry at McGill University.
His research covers the philosophies of psychiatry and neuroscience, with current work on delusion in psychiatric and neurological illness.A new investigation into this subject by Joel and Ian Gold appears in the journal Cognitive Neuropsychiatry. Their paper describes several real-life patients engaged in a reversal of the movie’s plot their symptoms recall Truman’s, without the knowledge that their attempts to understand the "truth" of their situation will afford them a happy, Hollywood ending.
The report looks at the phenomenon from three directions:
Although it might sometimes feel like it, it’s not the case that watching reality TV can trigger psychotic or delusional episodes. But underlying illnesses such as schizophrenia can react with "reality"-saturated TV schedules to shape and colour the nature of the delusion the patient experiences sometimes creating forms that, observed from outside, seem curiously half-familiar.
The preliminary result of the investigation shows that while particular delusional ideas are culture-sensitive, the broader categories of the types of delusion people suffer from tend to remain the same across time and cultural influence.
The authors conclude that cultural studies of delusion are to become an essential part of understanding how such conditions actually operate.
CitationThe “Truman Show” delusion: Psychosis in the global village. Joel Gold and Ian Gold. Cognitive Neuropsychiatry 2012. doi:10.1080/13546805.2012.666113
Introduction. We report a novel delusion, primarily persecutory in form, in which the patient believes that he is being filmed, and that the films are being broadcast for the entertainment of others.
Methods. We describe a series of patients who presented with a delusional system according to which they were the subjects of something akin to a reality television show that was broadcasting their daily life for the entertainment of others. We then address three questions, the first concerning how to characterise the delusion, the second concerning the role of culture in delusion, and the third concerning the implications of cultural studies of delusion for the cognitive theory of delusion.
Results. Delusions are both variable and stable: Particular delusional ideas are sensitive to culture, but the broad categories of delusion are stable both across time and culture. This stability has implications for the form a cognitive theory of delusion can take.
Conclusions. Cultural studies of delusion have important contributions to make to the cognitive theory of delusion.
Keywords: culture, delusion, grandiosity, ideas of reference, persecution, reality television.
|Last Updated on Sunday, 24 June 2012 20:48|