Before discussing schizophrenia, lets us briefly discuss classifications of diseases in psychiatry. Psychiatry has given a simple classification of psychiatric disorders:
1. Neurotic: When contact of the individual with reality is not broken, like Anxiety, OCD, PTSD, Conversion disorders.
2. Psychotic: When contact of the individual with reality is broken, like Schizophrenia, Schizotypal disorder.
Mental health and well-being are crucial for the normal functioning and behaviour of every individual. People with mental disorders often face ill-treatment from society.
Schizophrenia is one such mental condition in which patients experience things that do not exist. Schizophrenia is a chronic and severe mental disorder associated with the abnormal interpretation of reality, affecting more than 20 million people worldwide.
People with schizophrenia suffer from other combinations of mental conditions such as hallucinations, extremely disordered thinking, and also behavioural disorders that impact their routine. Men between 15 and 25 years of age and women between ages 20 and 30 are more prone to schizophrenia.
It is pertinent to clear the myths and facts about schizophrenia. Here are some of the commonly believed myths:
Myth 1: People with schizophrenia have a split personality. No! The fact is, the word ‘schizophrenia’, which is derived from the Greek language, means split-brain and not a split personality. A schizophrenic patient has two ways to think of any issue, but it does not mean that the person has dual behaviour.
Myth 2: Schizophrenia patients are harmful to live with. No! The fact is that the patients with schizophrenia often harm themselves rather than others.
Myth 3: Schizophrenia is hereditary. No! Schizophrenia is not a genetically inherited condition. Schizophrenia symptoms may vary in teenagers and adults, since the symptoms in teenagers are difficult to recognize. In teenagers, schizophrenia symptoms are similar to typical adolescent behaviour such as withdrawal from family and friends, drop in academic performance, sleep trouble, irritability and depression, lack of motivation and enthusiasm. Adults are likely to have delusions and visual hallucinations. As an impact of the symptoms found in teenagers or adults, the patient’s quality of life is hampered and may also lead to complications such as suicidal thoughts, alcohol and drug abuse, victimisation, and aggressive behaviour, causing harm to self and others.
How to help patients living with schizophrenia?
Encourage and support people with love and affection. Take timely medical advice from healthcare professionals. Above all, awareness about the disease is of utmost importance for the patient and their relatives. Let’s spread awareness about the disease and promote stable mental health for all.
—The writer can be mailed for any feedback/queries at [email protected]