"The primary symptom of schizophrenia isn't hallucinations or delusions," he tells us. "It's a defect in the pleasure response. Schizophrenics have a predominance of painful emotions. They function in an almost continuous state of fear or rage, fight or flight, because they don't have the pleasure to neutralize it."
It turned out that electrical stimulation of the pleasure center automatically turned off the punishment system - what Heath calls "the aversive system" - and vice-versa. And so Heath tried to cure mental illness with direct electrical stimulation of the pleasure neurons. "If we stimulated their pleasure systems, violent psychotics stopped having rage attacks," he says. "We even stimulated the septal area in people suffering from intractable cancer or arthritis pain and we were able to turn off the pain." By stimulating the septal pleasure area, he could make homicidal manias, suicide attempts, depressions, or delusions go away - sometimes for a long time.