Saturday, February 18, 2012

Sensory Deprivation

The Specific Psychiatric Syndrome Associated with Solitary Confinement.

a. Hyperresponsivity to External Stimuli: More than half the prisoners reported a progressive inability to tolerate ordinary stimuli.

b. Perceptual Distortions, Illusions, and Hallucinations: Almost a third of the prisoners described hearing voices, often in whispers and often saying frightening things to them.

c. Panic Attacks: Well over half the inmates interviewed described severe panic attacks while in SHU.

d. Difficulties with Thinking, Concentration, and Memory.

e. Intrusive Obsessional Thoughts.

f. Overt Paranoia: Almost half the prisoners interviewed reported paranoid and persecutory fears. Some of these persecutory fears were short of overt psychotic disorganization.

g. Problems with Impulse Control: Slightly less than half of the prisoners reported episodes of loss of impulse control with random violence:

I snap off the handle over absolutely nothing. Have torn up mail and pictures, throw things around. Try to control it. Know it only hurts myself." Several of these prisoners reported impulsive self-mutilation; "I cut my wrists many times in isolation. Now it seems crazy. But every time I did it, I wasn't thinking—lost control—cut myself without knowing what I was doing."

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