Dr. Lieberman introduces himself and explains schizophrenia.
Hi, I am Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman. I am the Chairman of Psychiatry at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons and I am the Director of the New York State Psychiatric Institute. I am a psychiatrist who is trained in research, who has taken care of patients for more than 25 years, and my area of interest has been schizophrenia, particularly in terms of its treatment, and understanding the underlying neurobiological basis of the illness.
Schizophrenia is a brain disorder that affects the way people think and perceive things. It usually occurs during late adolescence or early adulthood and it does not begin abruptly, like you wake up one day and all of a sudden you have schizophrenia. It usually beings gradually and people experience changes in their thought process and how they are perceiving and experiencing things.
A common way in which people begin to experience the symptoms of schizophrenia is to become suspicious of the motives of other people; they become paranoid. People are trying to play tricks on them, or trying to harm them, or spying on them, or they may have strange or funny thoughts. They may become, all of a sudden, fascinated with the supernatural or become extremely religious or, all of a sudden, become very, very concerned about their health.
This makes it difficult to recognize because during adolescence, for anybody who has children, you know that there are tendencies for extreme or erratic behavior. So we can’t really make the diagnosis till it goes clearly outside the bounds of what is normal behavior and until it lasts for a long time, meaning not just a few hours, or a few days, or even a couple of weeks, but lasts for many weeks or months.
About Dr. Lieberman, M.D.:
Jeffrey A. Lieberman, M.D. currently is the Lawrence E. Kolb Chairman of Psychiatry at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and Director of the New York State Psychiatric Institute. He also holds the Lieber Chair and Directs the Lieber Center for Schizophrenia Research in the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia.