Thoughts on World Schizophrenia Day

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May 24 is largely observed as World Schizophrenia Day across the world. It is a day that attempts to create public awareness about this debilitating disorder of the mind. Schizophrenia is one of the most serious mental health conditions that affect millions of people worldwide. Statistics gathered by psychiatrists’ state that over ten percent of schizophrenics commit suicide.

The day has been therefore marked out to raise awareness about the condition and to understand the situation of people suffering from schizophrenia. The disorder is psychotic problem in the mind, and it influences how a person feels, behaves and thinks. The day makes us pause in our lives and spare thoughts for schizophrenic patients to know how difficult it is for them to live with this tragic affliction.

We also need to be aware of the ways they manage to cope with their situations and to stop a while in our lives to acclaim their grit and determination in carrying on coping with their lives. It is really very sad to see a young adolescent on the threshold f life struck by the disease and learning to deal with it. It is very difficult to see a loved one gradually starting to withdraw from life and living as we know it. It is hard to imagine there world where they hear strange voices insulting them, and telling them so much.

A schizophrenic’s universe is distorted and they remain elusive to their own reality.  Not certain who their friends are, they start to misinterpret well meaning intentions. Families are at a loss to understand how to handle close ones and survive. Worse it is for the patient who has to contend with misunderstandings and lack of consideration from near and dear ones.

Families and friends must be very clear that they are not failing if they cannot manage their ward. It is not being a bad parent, husband or offspring. Like any other illness it is a mental illness.  The thing to remember here is that those who suffer from schizophrenia need to be treated with respect and love. However difficult this may be.

Moreover they need to get quality medical treatment that also will be very difficult in some cases. With time conditions may vary and also deteriorate that may require hospitalization and proper psychiatric care as also counseling. People affected by this vacuous disease are actually very brave in trying to cope with their limitations. And so if we come across a likewise messed up person we must always remember to be kind to them. Knowing that schizophrenia is a biological illness, it is important to care for and support someone who lives with the condition.

People must be aware of the following essential facts of this mental disorder:

  • Onset may start in late adolescence or early adulthood.
  • Symptoms include – Hallucination:hearing, seeing or feeling things that do not exist. Delusion: fixed false beliefs or suspicions that are firmly held even when there is evidence to the contrary. Abnormal behavior: strange appearance, self-neglect, incoherent speech, wandering aimlessly, mumbling or laughing to self.
  • People with schizophrenia are more likely to die early than the general population as a result of physical illnesses, such as cardiovascular, metabolic and infectious diseases.
  • Causes of schizophrenia are not known, but researchers believe that a combination of genetics and environment contributes to development of the disorder.
  • Schizophrenia is treatable and is usually treated with a combination of medication and therapy appropriate to each individual.

However the fact is that half of the people with the condition do not get appropriate care.

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