World Schizophrenia Day, observed on May 24 every year, is a day to raise awareness about schizophrenia and reduce the stigma attached to this mental disorder. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), more than 21 million people across the globe are affected by schizophrenia
Some people say I'm unique, that there aren't other people with schizophrenia like me. Well, there are people like me out there, but the stigma is so great that they don't come forward.
While thinking of what to write and how to make it informative, I over hear the conversation my siblings were having. Although, it was not so in depth, but I thought to use it for my next writing. So here, it is.
Dikshita:Hey, what's in your hand Aadi?
Aditya: Ah! nothing unusual, just a book about Schizophrenia.
Dikshita: Schi..zo, what? (in a questionable tone) what’s that? I haven’t heard about it ever and, me? I just came back from my college it was a tiring day. I seriously want to know about this book and this term. What is it about?
Aditya: Well, schizophrenia is a mental disorder. I can tell you more about it if you are interested because this is surely something of my interest.
Dikshita: Surely, tell me everything this sounds cool.
Aditya: Here you go,People with this disorder often do not behave the way most people do towards others. They also may not know what is real. Some commonsignsare strange beliefs, unclear orconfusedthinking and language,hallucinations, delusion, poor interaction with others, less expression offeelings, and not doing much.
Diagnosisis based on observing the person and what he or she says about experiences. Problems have to last for at least six months before the person isdiagnosedas schizophrenic.
Dikshita: Oh! that is scary. What is delusion and hallucination? aren’t they same, hearing voices?
Aditya: No not at all,hallucinationis seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling or feeling things that do not really exist. Usually people have to beawakeandconscious to have hallucinations. That way, a person who sees or hears something that is not really there has a hallucination and while delusion is a belief that is held with strong conviction despite superior evidence to the contrary.
Dikshita: I thought they are same, can it happen to anyone?
Aditya: Yes it can happen to everyone, Schizophreniausually takes hold after puberty. Most people are diagnosed in their lateteensto early 30s. Men and women are equally likely to get thisbraindisorder, but guys tend to get it slightly earlier. On average, they're diagnosed in their late teens to early 20s.
Dikshita: Okay, I see and what are the symptoms?
Aditya: Symptoms.... umm they are quite many, I will tell you about few of them.
Aditya: A reaction between something in your genes and something in your environment probably causes the disorder. Researchers still have a lot to learn about it, but it's likely that many things play a role. Some causes are, exposure to a virus or malnutrition, some reaction that might have happened when you were in your mother's womb.
Dikshita: Are there different kinds too? , as in, in some hallucination is more but delusion is less or vice versa.
Aditya: At first it had subtypes but now they are not seen as distinct from each other, still for your knowledge I can tell you the types,Paranoid Schizophrenia,Disorganized Schizophrenia,Catatonic Schizophrenia,Undifferentiated Schizophrenia,Residual Schizophrenia.
Dikshita: Can you explain the subtypes more? , they seem to be dangerous by their names.
Aditya:Yes,Paranoid Schizophrenia’s main features are of hallucinations and delusions, typically auditoryhallucinationsanddelusionsof persecution or conspiracy. These hallucinations and delusions usually revolve around a consistent theme. Disorganized Schizophrenia shows disorganization of thought processes, often with emotional impairment and difficulty communicating effectively. Hallucinations and delusions are either absent or less pronounced than in paranoid where as Catatonic schizophrenia shows a majordisturbances in movement, either a dramatic reduction in voluntary movement or a dramatic increase in activity.Undifferentiated schizophrenia may be diagnosed in people with fluctuating or typical symptoms. Residual Schizophrenia includes positive symptoms, which are less severe than experienced inacute schizophrenia.
Dikshita: Oh my god! You are so well versed with this topic.
Aditya: Hahaha (laughing) thank you, I am glad that you learnt few things today.
Dikshita: I have few more questions will you answer them to, please?
Aditya: Obviously, Do I have any other option (chuckles)?
Dikshita: Do I have any other option (mimics), No you don’t have. Tell me how can one be cured from this disorder?
Aditya:Schizophrenia is generally regarded as a lifelong disorder requiring ongoing treatment. In many cases, the first psychotic episode leads to hospitalization for safety as well as stabilization. Future hospitalizations are often necessary if the individual stops taking medication and becomes severely symptomatic. Treatment is often made more challenging because people with schizophrenia have a lack of insight, thereby making them oblivious to the fact that they have an illness. Medication is often the primary treatment for schizophrenia. Antipsychotic medications, including newer atypical antipsychotics, reduce the risk of psychotic episodes, lessen the severity when they do occur and improve a person’s ability to function. Unfortunately, antipsychotic medications often have undesirable side effects, leading some individuals to stop taking their medication. In some cases, medication may not work or its effectiveness may be limited or minimal. Of course, when the medication is working and an individual starts feeling good, he or she may stop taking it, believing it is no longer necessary. It is not uncommon for individuals with schizophrenia to end up back in the hospital not long after discontinuation of medication. Some antipsychotic medications such as haloperidol and perphenazine are available in long-acting injectable forms that eliminate the need to take pills every day. This methodology may result in better adherence to treatment. A major goal of schizophrenia research is to develop a wider variety of long-acting antipsychotics, especially newer injectable agents with milder side effects.
Dikshita: Okay, how do you remember so much?
Aditya: It’s all about interests , I remember all this because it interests me, as you can talk hours about land and water and all the other geographical locations.
Aditya: Ok, this book is about to end and next time I'll read about anxities, what wll you do today?
Dikshita: Ummm.... nothing, I'll just steal your book and will think about returning it to you some day later.
Aditya: Hahaha (laughing) like always.
Dikshita: Yes, like always and next time I'll take this book on anxities from you and then next time some another and then more and more.
Aditya: You are sucha kid. Here, have it and return it to me as soon as possible.
Please hear this: There are not 'schizophrenics.' There are people with schizophrenia.
I hope this was as informative for you as it was for Dikshita.
I did my bit by spreading awareness from my side, share this article if you want other people to be a bit aware about Schizophrenia.
Reminder: remember everyone is equal, with or without Schizophrenia and no body should be treated as if they are inferior and not worthy.
If you know someone with Schizophrenia or if they had any episode of it then please help them in ways and give them all the love and care, everyone is unique and everyone has their own struggles in life.
If you wish to know more or want to discuss about it further, do comment.