Understanding Schizophrenia: A Chronic and Disabling Mental Illness

Schizophrenia is an incurable disarray of the brain that impacts less than one percent of the United States population. Schizophrenics aren’t capable of deciphering the difference between reality and what is being imagined in their heads. Contrary to popular belief, schizophrenia isn’t a multiple or split personality disorder, and those affected with this disorder aren’t dangerous. Instead, when schizophrenia is active, one can experience symptoms such as misapprehension, hallucinations, trouble with reason and concentration, and no motivation. As a result, it affects the way that these individuals think, express themselves, act and perceive reality. In terms of other mental illnesses, schizophrenia is the most chronic and disabling of them all. Although this disorder affects men and women equally, it is seen earlier in males. Individuals with this disorder are likely to die younger than the common population. The exact cause of schizophrenia is unknown. However, heredity, altered brain chemistry, and environment can play a role.

In the United States, about 1.2% of Americans are coping with schizophrenia, and about 1.5 million individuals will be diagnosed with this disorder worldwide this year. This means that 100,000 Americans (7.2 people per 1,000 within a city of 3 million) will contract this disorder. Schizophrenia ranks among the top 10 causes of disability in developed countries around the world. As many as 51 million people worldwide endure schizophrenia, which can be broken down to the following statistics: 6-12 million people in China, 4.3 million in India, 2.2 million in the United States, 285,000 in Australia, over 250,000 in Canada, and over 250,000 diagnosed cases in Britain. Society may wonder how those with schizophrenia are surviving and where they reside. It is known that: about 200,000 (which is 6%) are homeless or are living in a shelter, 6% are in jail, 10% live in convalescent homes, 25% live with their families, 5%-6% live in hospitals, 20% are in supervised living communities, and 28% life on their own. Of that 5%-6 % that live in hospitals, about 90,000 of those are receiving treatment. In contrast, about 55% of those not receiving treatment aren’t aware that they have this schizophrenia and, as a result, don’t seek help.

In regards to studies conducted about schizophrenia, many have coordinated. One study that stood out the most to me was the study conducted on December 18, 2015, by Rodriguez et al. He explored the effect that a neuropsychological battery would have on the functioning and quality of a person’s life within the thirty-six first psychotic episode of schizophrenia patients. Rodriguez’s technique was to examine thirty-six schizophrenia subjects and match those individuals with a group of healthy people which was the control group. They were then assessed with a neuropsychological battery that focused on the visual and verbal functions. Multiple regression analyses were used in which the cumulative result of the verbal and visual functions, antipsychotic medication on global functioning in regards to the quality of life, and psychiatric indication in the schizophrenia group. His results concluded that patients with this disorder were notably disabled in both the visual and verbal aspects. He concluded that the verbal functioning deficit was a better predictor of the quality of life than the visual aspect.

With schizophrenia comes lifelong treatment, even when symptoms have gone away. Patients living with this disorder can undergo treatment with medicine and psychosocial therapy that can help them cope with and manage this condition. Individuals usually have a treatment team that includes: a psychologist, social worker, psychiatric nurse, and maybe even a case manager to coordinate their care. In most cases, however, an experienced psychiatrist is usually present and guides the path of a patient’s treatment. Medication is also a vital part of caring for schizophrenia patients. Most Doctors prescribe convalescence antipsychotics which are thought to control a patient’s symptoms by affecting the brain’s neurotransmitter dopamine.

Doctors hope that prescribing this medication will manage signs and symptoms at the lowest possible dose. Antidepressants and/or antianxiety medications can also help a patient. However, it may take a few weeks to notice an improvement in symptoms. Adults living with schizophrenia whose brains aren’t as responsive to drug therapy can receive Electroconvulsive Therapy which is a procedure in which a patient will undergo anesthesia, and small electric currents are passed through the brain, which intentionally causes a brief seizure. It is thought that the ECT procedure changes the chemistry in the brain, which can quickly reverse mental illness. In regards to antipsychotics, second-generation antipsychotics are preferred as they have a lower side effect rate than first-generation antipsychotics. Although first-generation antipsychotics are cheaper, they tend to have frequent neurological side effects that may not be reversible.

Schizophrenia is found in all cultures throughout the world, and only about ½ of all individuals with this disease undergo treatment.” According to Kaplan Sadock and Grebb (1944), about 0.025 to 0.05 percent of the total population is treated for schizophrenia in any one year”. In fact, about 1 in every 4,000 will be detected as having this mental disorder in a year. It is proven that people with a diagnosis of schizophrenia are 2x more likely than Alzheimer’s. Those born with an identical twin have a greater risk of developing this disorder, and most indications begin between the ages of 16-30.

Teens living with this disorder have a 50% risk of attempting at least one suicide attempt throughout the course of their lives, while about one out of ten individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia will commit suicide within the first ten years of their diagnosis. At the conclusion of 2002 in the United States, the total amount spent for handling schizophrenia was about $62.7 billion dollars. One out of every four people who are diagnosed with this disorder will completely recover in 10 years. If a patient decides to discontinue their medication, the relapse rate is about 80% within a year period. Schizophrenia accounts for 25% of all mental health costs and is the cause of one out of every three psychiatric hospital visits.

While schizophrenia is a disorder that only affects 1 in every 4,000 in society, it is a chronic mental illness that ought to be taken seriously. The signs of schizophrenia are early emergence and, when caught early, can be treated properly. Schizophrenia is the most crucial of mental disorders and, without proper care, can lead to the downward spiral of a person and those around them. The exact cause of this disorder has yet to be found, but genetics and one’s environment tend to play a role in the development of this disorder. Due to the ignorance of this condition, schizophrenia convalescents tend to be misunderstood and deemed as “crazy,” which is far from the reality of this condition. With the proper knowledge of this topic, society will see that it is actually a common illness that must be taken seriously and isn’t what it is perceived to be.

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Understanding Schizophrenia: A Chronic and Disabling Mental Illness. (2023, Mar 15). Retrieved May 24, 2024 , from
https://supremestudy.com/understanding-schizophrenia-a-chronic-and-disabling-mental-illness/

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