Schizophrenia (schizo-split, phrenia- mind)
Schizophrenia means split mind or personality.But, it is important to understand that schizophrenia is not the same thing as a dissociative identity disorder despite the translation of schizophrenia is split mind.
Schizophrenia is bit unusual compared to other disorders because it doesn’t always reveals itself in same way. Everyone who suffers from an anxiety disorder feels anxious, in depression feels sad, but each of symptoms of schizophrenia is not shared by every individual. Schizophrenia is a complex disorder that is expressed in a variety of complex way.
They suffer from delusion or false beliefs which cannot be shaken in spite of clear contrary evidences. Prominent among delusion are the ideas of reference in which patients believe that their thoughts feelings or actions are being stolen or controlled by someone else or by some machines.
A schizophrenic seeing his wife talking to a stranger may be convinced that they are in love and hatch a plan to kill them. Such a belief is known as delusion or persecution. A schizophrenic may imagine that he/she is famous, healthy, wealthy, beautiful, powerful and they may win a Nobel Prize. They have a delusion of grandeur. Schizophrenics also have hallucinations (experience of something which is not real) which are mostly auditory in nature, they hear voices and commands which are not there in the real sense. Many schizophrenics have disorders of attention, motivation, and emotion. For hours they may sit listlessly without any expression in an apathetic ( showing no enthusiasm, interest, and emotion) manner without any expression on their face. At the social level, they generally have a poor relationship with others. There is progressive withdrawal from words of reality, which may lead them even more firm in their beliefs. It’s observable expression of abnormal behavior such as delusion or hallucinations, and negative symptoms consist of deficits in behavior, such as the inability to express emotion.
So, normally if a person sees another person murmuring in themselves or talking in a disorganized way or maybe something out of delusion, what would be their reaction? They would perhaps think of them as insane or crazy, and just walk away. But that’s where most people go wrong. Even if they know that the symptoms are of schizophrenia, they believe that it cannot be treated and an extremely rare condition and that’s the reason they kinda ignore it. But according to DSM-V( Book by American psychiatric association), 1 out of every 100 people suffers from schizophrenia, the extent might differ. But the disorder is not that rare.
It is really difficult for people with schizophrenia to figure out anything, even their own condition. Imagine living a life where you are constantly listening to commands, you think objects are sending messages to you, what perhaps can’t figure out what’s real and what’s a delusion. This condition might worsen with the insanity entitlement.
Being compassionate what would you do?
Following steps could be taken.
1. Silencing the misconception
Trying to rectify all the misconceptions would reduce the panic of the situation and give the patient a rather positive sense of belief towards themselves. This could be accomplished by educating the patient as well as local people. As their misconception could make the condition more feared and more misunderstood and give worst outcomes.
2. Counselling the patient:
A psychiatrist can communicate with the patient and support them. The patients’ family and psychiatrist can work together and give them a feeling of being understood. This would also change the way they proceed with the world.
3. Therapy and medication:
Usually, schizophrenia is treated with a combination of oral medicines and vaccines. In most cases, doctors use antipsychotics. But it must be noted that it takes time for antipsychotics to show results. They may also have side effects most of which are manageable.
Apart from all these steps, support, training, and come operation always helps to handle psychotic patients.
Written By: Azra Rizwan