What is the Disease Perspective?

When engaging with mental health from the disease perspective, we look for physical and observable changes in the brain to better understand how changes impact behavioral health.

A doctor can examine separate MRI scans of the same patient over a designated timespan, and look for any physical changes in brain structure. If the brain is deteriorating, or even losing gray matter, it’s possible for the doctor to identify on-set dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease.

The same methodology—studying observable changes and using them to understand the development of psychological illness—can be applied to brain disorders such as autism and bipolar disorder.  It can also apply to schizophrenia.

How Does Schizophrenia Affect the Brain?

Schizophrenia is a chronic brain disorder that, when active, can cause delusions, trouble concentrating, lack of motivation, and hallucinations. While hallucinations can occur in any of the senses, they most often manifest as auditory hallucinations (hearing voices). In men, symptoms typically start in the early to mid-twenties, and in women they often begin in the late twenties. These symptoms can be debilitating, often making simple tasks extremely challenging. The simulation below allows you to experience how auditory hallucinations could affect a schizophrenic patient.

The Simulation

What it is

This is a 3 step simulation of what it could be like to experience auditory hallucinations triggered by schizophrenia. We ask that you grab a pair of headphones and an 8.5×11 sheet of paper for this exercise. When you’re ready, go ahead and click the play button and then follow the instructions below to create an origami paper boat.

What You'll Need

8.5 x 11 Sheet of Paper

Step 1: Play Audio

Play the audio (preferably with headphones in) and begin following the instructions in Step 2.

Step 2: Build Paper Boat

Click through the slideshow and follow the instructions to create an origami paper boat while listening to the audio track from Step 1.


Step 3: Reflect

This exercise may have been difficult for a few minutes, but how might your life be affected if you couldn’t turn the audio off? We hope that this simulation has provided you with insight into the struggles associated with schizophrenia, and that it will inspire you to help us further serve those affected.

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