Schizophrenia is not an illness, says study
In Ireland, there are about 3900 people in Ireland living with schizophrenia, Men and women are equally affected by the condition. In men, schizophrenia usually begins between the ages of 15 and 30 and 220,000 people are being treated for schizophrenia in the UK by the NHS.
Schizophrenia is a severe, persistent, and disabling brain disease. The distress, despair, confusion, and disorganization that is currently attached to schizophrenia are not the symptoms of a medical illness. The impression that mental illness is an illness like any other promulgated by biological psychiatry and the pharmaceutical industry, is not supported by research and is extremely damaging to those with this most encouraging of psychiatric labels.
The medical model of schizophrenia has influence effort to understand and assist distressed and causing anxiety to people for too long. It is responsible for unwarranted and causing irreparable damage to the chances of recovery and has ignored or actively discouraged the discussion of what is going on in people’s lives and societies.
Symptoms of schizophrenia
Schizophrenia involves a range of problems with thinking (cognition), behavior or emotions. Signs and symptoms may vary, but usually involve delusions, hallucinations or disorganized speech, and reflect an impaired ability to function. Symptoms may include:
- Delusions. These are false beliefs that are not based on reality. For example, you think that you’re being harmed or harassed; certain gestures or comments are directed at you; you have exceptional ability or fame; another person is in love with you, or a major catastrophe is about to occur. Delusions occur in most people with schizophrenia.
- Hallucinations. These usually involve seeing or hearing things that don’t exist. Yet for the person with schizophrenia, they have the full force and impact of a normal experience. Hallucinations can be in any of the senses, but hearing voices is the most common hallucination.
- Disorganized thinking (speech). Disorganized thinking is inferred from disorganized speech. Effective communication can be impaired, and answers to questions may be partially or completely unrelated. Rarely, speech may include putting together meaningless words that can’t be understood, sometimes known as word salad.
- Extremely disorganized or abnormal motor behaviour. This may show in a number of ways, from childlike silliness to unpredictable agitation. Behavior isn’t focused on a goal, so it’s hard to do tasks. Behavior can include resistance to instructions, inappropriate or bizarre posture, a complete lack of response, or useless and excessive movement.
- Negative symptoms. This refers to reduced or lack of ability to function normally. For example, the person may neglect personal hygiene or appear to lack emotion (doesn’t make eye contact, doesn’t change facial expressions or speaks in a monotone). Also, the person may lose interest in everyday activities, socially withdraw or lack the ability to experience pleasure.
How to seek help
If you someone you know may have symptoms of schizophrenia, talk to him or her about your concerns. Although you can’t force someone to seek professional help, you can offer encouragement and support and help your loved one find a qualified doctor or mental health professional.
If your loved one poses a danger to self or others or can’t provide his or her own food, clothing or shelter, you may need to call 911 or other emergency responders for help so that your loved one can be evaluated by a mental health professional.
In some cases, emergency hospitalization may be needed. Laws on involuntary commitment to mental health treatment vary by state. You can contact community mental health agencies or police departments in your area for details.