John heard his name whispered, he glanced nervously around him. He knew that he was somebody very important. He was a target. Everybody was a conspirator. He ran away to a secluded place. Then he could relax. His worried parents took him to the psychiatrist. The shrink heard out John’s story. He realized that John was not normal, that he was suffering from schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia is a tragic disease both to the sufferer as well as the people around him. There is a huge stigma regarding this most common major mental illness. One percent of the population suffers from schizophrenia. The disease has genetic component and runs in some families. It can also be triggered out by stressful events, such as a death of a loved one.
We dispel some common myths about schizophrenia. It is not caused by a curse, but a brain disorder. There is a chemical imbalance in the brain which triggers the symptoms. Schizophrenia is not a split personality. The latter is a rare and different disorder. The schizophrenic does not sufferer from multiple personalities. There is a disassociation of thoughts, feelings, and behavior.
The media portrays schizophrenics as violent psychopaths. In fact this is far from the truth. Most people who are violent are not schizophrenic and most people who are schizophrenic are not violent. In fact, the rate of violence among schizophrenics is not much different from that of the general population. It’s only when the disease is in advance stage that violence symptoms occur. This is mostly directed against family and friends.
Anti-psychotics are used to treat schizophrenia. The schizophrenic has to take medicines everyday. These medicines are a product of years of research and indispensable for treating the chronic conditions. Some people may have only one episode of schizophrenia and lead normal lives thereafter. However, the majority of schizophrenics suffer from this disorder for a lifetime.
Today is a hopeful time for sufferers of schizophrenia. Better drugs are being developed. Modern brain imaging techniques show how brains of schizophrenic operate. Hopefully there will be a cure for this serious and devastating disease.