Footprints of Schizophrenia: The Evolutionary Roots of Mental Illness (Hardcover)
Of all the mental illnesses, schizophrenia eludes us the most. No matter the strides scientists have made in neurological research nor doctors have made in psychiatric treatment, schizophrenia remains misunderstood, almost complacently mythologized. Without a reason for the illness, patients feel even more alienated than they already do, families are left hopeless, and doctors struggle to provide accurate care. Steven Lesk, though, after a medical career dedicated to those affected by schizophrenia and a determination to find the answer to its existence, presents a groundbreaking theory that will forever change the lives of the mentally ill. In Footprints of Schizophrenia: The Evolutionary Roots of Madness, Lesk threads evolutionary evidence with neurological evidence, turning the mysteries of our minds into a tapestry of logic. With his breakthrough theory and this unprecedented book, Lesk will invite necessary cultural dialogue about this stigmatized illness, provoke new psychiatric and pharmacological research, and provide unequivocal comfort to those afflicted and affected by schizophrenia.
Lesk's "primitive organization theory" is based in human evolution, from Neanderthals to Homo sapiens, and the specific changes to our brains after the emergence of language. We have existed in human-like form for six million years, but we've only had language for 50,000; within the vast span of evolutionary time, that's hardly any time at all. Lesk elucidates us to the hormones affected by language, especially dopamine, and with brilliant clarity, connects human evolution, our brain affected by language, and those with schizophrenia whose dopamine doesn't flow in our new, adaptive way. In other words, the twenty million people who have schizophrenia in the world don't suppress dopamine in the way evolution has trained us, so their brains don't process language well and function as if they're in a hallucinatory, delusional dream state. Not only will Lesk's theory focus treatment efforts for schizophrenia, but it will also affect that of other dopamine-related mental illnesses like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Huntington's chorea, Tourette's, ADD, and more. Publishing Lesk's work will usher in a new era of psychiatric understanding, one that the field and the public desperately needs.