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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Schizophrenia, no social stigma.

Curiosity kills the cat. Thus, to me it’s always better to kill the curiosity itself than getting killed as a cat. For that, I would rather be a dog to sniff around. So that, eventually, I can sneak into the truth. Even, if it’s buried under the ground, I won’t mind to dig. To know, understand and unearth the reality as closely as possible.

And this inquisitiveness of mine has encouraged me to unfold some darkest of dark creases of a mind, which suffers from Schizophrenia.

In this article, I shall try to explain everything in a very lucid way, so that to comprehend what is what none needs to be a Nobel Laureate or a medical maverick.

What is Schizophrenia?

It’s no sin, no crime, no curse but a disease, an ailment, an illness of mind. As the adage suggests that idle brain is devil’s workshop, this sickness tends to prove this maxim 100% right in reality.

What are the signs and symptoms of Schizophrenia?

1. Auditory hallucinations – as if she listens to some alien, surreal sounds.

2. Delusions – she loves to live in her own imagery world being oblivious of the ground reality.

3. Disorganized and Unusual Thinking, and Incoherent Speech - her thought process hardly seems to be on track rather it’s seen mostly derailed. And this loss of thought-train and subject-flow with sentences only loosely connected to meaninglessness, confusion and incoherence is known as “word salad” in severe cases.

These symptoms gradually lead a Schizophrenia patient to demonstrate the following problems –

A. Paranoia – a hyper sense of skepticism, fear and suspicion of losing out something, or someone, or self without being sure of why so.

B. Avolition – a psychological state that creates lack of motivation, desire and determination to pursue any meaningful goals in life; personal or professional.

C. Catatonia – where one remains largely mute or silent and motionless in a bizarre posture or position, and exhibits purposeless agitation, arrogance and attitude, and strangely lies at random to manipulate things for nothing.

D. Alogia – a flat approach that blunts the effects of any emotion.

E. Asociality – an apathy or lack of desire to form and firm up a serious relationship.

F. Nymphomania – a tendency to enjoy multiple relations just for sexual adventure and carnal varieties. Though it’s not seen or guaranteed to happen with everyone whoever is suffering from Schizophrenia. This symptom is just an outside possibility.

Why Schizophrenia occurs?

There are no such hard and fast rules to define why it happens. However, there are a few reasons that can be considered as the root of Schizophrenia. Those are as follows –

I. Genetic – if parent(s) or someone up in the ancestral ladder was/is schizophrenic chances get increased for a descendant to fall prey to it.

II. Twins – if someone was born with a twin bro/sis, Schizophrenia might occur to her. Though concordance rates for Schizophrenia are higher in monozygotic (identical) twins than in dizygotic (fraternal) twins.

III. Social – poverty, migration, racial discrimination, unemployment, poor house condition, and above all else, “family dysfunction” are the risk factors for Schizophrenia. If any abuses - like physical, mental, and sexual – took place, precisely at the crossroads of one’s childhood and adolescence, she becomes very prone to this sickness rather unknowingly.

IV. Drug, Dope, and Alcohol – though it’s very hard to prove whether any drug or dope, or the alcohol causes Schizophrenia or not, still this phenomenon can be described in two ways: “Substance use causes Schizophrenia” and “Substance use as a consequence of Schizophrenia”. Owing to the absence of any concrete theory in this regard, it may be taken for granted that some people use drugs to cope with some unpleasant situations such as loneliness, boredom, depression, anxiety, and the like. But, there is no certainty that those situations are the results of Schizophrenia only.

How to treat Schizophrenia?

The major problem, incidentally, is individuals take years time simply to accept the very fact that they are Schizophrenic.

Once that acceptance is taken care of, a patient needs to be treated by the following methods –

a. Medication – she should be taken to a good doctor, who knows better how to treat her with proper and appropriate medicines and clinical remedies.

b. Psychological or Social Interventions – help, support, confidence, compassion and care should be provided to a patient through psychotherapy or counseling. In this method, a patient family’s understanding, involvement and acceptance of the gravity of the problem is an absolute must.

c. Other - electroconvulsive therapy is not considered a first line of treatment but may be prescribed in case other treatments have failed. This method is more apt, if the symptoms of Catatonia are present and prevalent.

d. Alternative Medical Treatments - orthomolecular psychiatry considers Schizophrenia is a group of disorders, some of which can be treated with megadoses of nutrients such as Niacin (vitamin B-3). This theory is yet to be proven though. In spite of that some researchers suggest that dietary and nutritional treatments may hold promise in the treatment of Schizophrenia.

After all, Schizophrenia is no social stigma. It’s a sickness, hence needs treatment. PERIOD.

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