World Schizophrenia Day: Here’s What You Need To Know
World Schizophrenia Day is observed every year on May 24 to fight the stigmas associated with it and create awareness among people for this mental disorder. Schizophrenia is a medical condition that affects the functioning of brain. This is a chronic and severe mental disorder that affects the way a person thinks, feels and responds to the situation. Since it is not very common like other mental disorders, it becomes all the more important to create awareness about it since the symptoms can be highly disabling.
Living with Schizophrenia in India
Even the slightest of mental disorder can be highly traumatizing because of the way society reacts to it. As far as our society is concerned, mental disorders are surrounded with stigmas and we don’t really do much for it. A study by National Centre For Biotechnology Information on gender issues in Schizophrenia from a socio cultural perspective conducted individual interviews and filing down the narration. The important takeaways from the study are:
- The place where people suffered from Schizophrenia and faced stigmas was more acute at the place where they were employed. While women related their experiences of stigmas to marriage, child birth, both men and women revealed certain cultural myths about their illness and how it affected their life negatively.
- Men suffering from Schizophrenia reported experiencing disgust and shame and hence had to hide this condition from their job applications. They also report getting rejected for marriage. Women were more severely impacted since they reported that the stigmas affected three most important phases of their life- Marriage, Pregnancy and Child birth.
- The sample consisted of 118 men and 82 women, with a total of 57% married and 31% never married. Of those who were never married, 24% were men and 7% were women. People reported that they had to conceal the presence of illness keeping in mind the problems they will have to face. One such quote included, “I used to go to college and study. Now I cannot because I am not the same sharp person I used to be. People tell me not to get married because of my illness.”
Symptoms of Schizophrenia
- It begins from being unable to differentiate between what’s real and what’s not. These include seeing or feeling things that other’s cannot. Termed as hallucinations, the person most often hears voices in their heads. Responding to these voices, they might be murmuring too or respond to these voices with anger. The hallucinations might be visual, olfactory and tactile too.
- Then there might be delusions. These are easily proved wrong beliefs that seems strange to other normal people. Like the person might feel he/she is being stalked while it isn’t really so. They might also feel that others are trying to attack them etc.
- The person affected faces trouble concentrating. Their thoughts might be confused and this results in disorganised speech too. Contrary to the belief, people with this disorder are usually not violent.
Treatment of Schizophrenia
- According to Mayoclinic, Schizophrenia requires lifelong treatment even when the symptoms have subsided. In order to help manage the condition, medications and physiological therapy work hand in hand.
- Antipsychotic drugs are the most commonly prescribed drugs for the treatment of Schizophrenia. They are thought to control the functioning of brain by affecting the brain transmitter dopamine. The goal of treatment with antipsychotic medications is to effectively manage signs and symptoms at the lowest possible dose.
- Most individuals require daily living support, a reason why family support is very important for them. Psychological assistance too goes along with medication to help fasten the process of healing.