WORLD SCHIZOPHRENIA AWARENESS DAY, MAY 24

SCHIZOPHRENIA

Schizophrenia….yes…it does sound like the name of a Hollywood Zombie movie. But schizophrenia is actually a debilitating and devastating disorder. World Schizophrenia Day is observed on the 24th of May every year.

How did the name? Come

The term Schizophrenia is derived from the Greek words Schizo (split) and Phren (mind). The term refers to dissociation and distortion of thoughts, feelings, and behavior.
What actually is Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a chronic and severe mental disorder that affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves. A person affected by Schizophrenia exhibits abnormal behavior and fails to understand reality. Schizophrenics suffer physically, mentally and socially because of the symptoms such as distorted thinking like Hallucinations, Delusions, and disorganized speech and behavior.

Why should we be aware of Schizophrenia?

Physical and Mental health stand as the founding pillars to any developed society. In the Western nations that are rich and developed, the importance of mental health has been clearly understood. And hence, efforts to ensure mental health are numerous among those nations. When compared, we, as a society, lack the awareness about Schizophrenia. Hence it is necessary to know about the basic truths about Schizophrenia.

What are the causes of Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is generally caused due to Genetic and Environmental factors. Environmental factors include drug/ alcohol usage by the person, infections, malnutrition during pre-natal period etc. Social factors such as joblessness, homelessness, economic crisis etc., are suspected to be causes too. There is no single, definite cause proven yet. But increased Dopamine secretion has been identified in the brains of the persons affected by Schizophrenia.

Who does Schizophrenia affect?

Men are more affected than women by Schizophrenia. Any person between the age of 16-30 is vulnerable. According to a recent survey, 2,36,00,000 people worldwide are affected by Schizophrenia i.e. 1 in every 100 people, which is a shocking and a threatening statistics. Children of Schizophrenics are highly susceptible to be affected by Schizophrenia. If one of the parents is Schizophrenic, the chances for the child, to be affected by Schizophrenia is 13%. And if both the parents are Schizophrenics, children have 50% chance for being affected by Schizophrenia. Also, use of Alcohol, organic drugs such as Marijuana (ganja), and synthetic drugs such as Ecstasy, LSD and Methamphetamine can possibly lead to Schizophrenia. And they certainly aggravate the symptoms in people with the genetic predisposition for Schizophrenia.

What are the symptoms?

Affected people exhibit very uncommon behaviors. Distorted speech including Word salad or mixing of words and speaking meaningless phrases; Distorted thinking including Hallucinations and Delusions; Disorganised Behavior; Restlessness, withdrawing from social relations are the most common symptoms of Schizophrenia.

What are the Consequences?

There is significant damage done to sense organs and their functioning such as vision, hearing, speech, etc. The lifetime of the affected person is reduced by a drastic period of 10-12 years. The reasons for this include the multiple physical problems caused due to the symptoms and also suicidal tendencies. When the symptoms go unmanageable, it becomes a trouble for the family and care takers too.

Has any famous personalities been affected by this disorder?

World famous Physics scientist Albert Einstein’s son Edward Einstein was affected by Schizophrenia. He was a good musician and wanted to become a Psychiatrist. He was diagnosed with Schizophrenia in his 20s. He exhibited symptoms of Schizophrenia while grieving over the loss of his parents. The symptoms seemed to worsen later. World renowned psychiatrists, including Sigmund Freud treated him but everything was in vain. He died in the age 55 due to paralysis.
Similarly Jazz musician Tom Harrell, Noble laurate for mathematics professor John Nash, son of James Watson who won the Noble for discovering the DNA structure were affected by Schizophrenia.

What are the misconceptions about Schizophrenia?

Eugene Bleuler who coined the term, gave it as Schizophrenias- meaning many. Because it was believed that Schizophrenia could be caused by many different problems and misfunctions. In the famous Tamil movie Anniyan, starring vikram, the protagonist is affected by Multiple Personality Disorder exhibiting split personality. That has no connection or similarity to Schizophrenia.

How is it Diagnosed?

Schizophrenia is mostly identified from the symptoms exhibited by the affected person. The help of psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric social worker, can be taken. The diagnostic testing must be carried out by trained in medically approved and recognized ways.

How is it treated?

The treatment includes administering drugs, psychotherapies and psychological counseling. But the bitter truth about Schizophrenia is that, people who are severly affected barely cooperate fo the treatment procedures. And the drugs given, could cause obesity and diabetes. But it is advised to consult a trained Psychologist or a Psychiatrist during the initial stages when the symptoms are occur.

In this scenario, with the Noble intention of creating a healthy society, WOW Mind and Behavioral clinic extends its support, through experienced and well trained professionals and World class treatment methods for treating Mental Health Issues.

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