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Containing the "Crazy"
Schizophrenia, being one of the world’s most captivating brain disorders affects one percent of the American population. Though this may seem like a very low percentage of people being affected by this disease, Schizophrenia appears to be threatening the entire population. Those who know someone who struggles with the disease believe that it is only an ailment, not a danger. Many other citizens who do not directly suffer from schizophrenia believe the complete opposite. More and more cases of schizophrenics being dangerous or causing chaos have begun to amount. With a snowballing rise of mass shootings, attacks and murders, the blame on schizophrenics has risen. A steep percentage of these horrific occurrences have been performed by people travailing from schizophrenia or other mental disorders. All people suffering from this dreadful disease are not threatening, but something does need to be done to decrease the number of viscous, uncalled- for attacks executed by the few Schizophrenics that are becoming dangerous.
Containing the Crazy:
The Control and Treatment of Dangerous Schizophrenics
Schizophrenia is labeled as a chronic and disabling brain disorder that affects about one percent of Americans. It has been associated with drugs, alcohol and even demonic possession because of the way it touches its sufferers. It is one of the most captivating and confusing diseases that affect the human brain, and scientists still are not one hundred percent sure what causes it and why. There have been countless studies carried out to establish a cure and to fully understand how schizophrenia affects its victim. Not all schizophrenics are dangerous, but precautions need to be taken in order to lessen the amount of violent acts carried out by schizophrenics.
The most important thing for people unfamiliar with this disease to remember is that there are five different types of Schizophrenia: Paranoid, Disorganized, Catatonic, Undifferentiated, and Residual. Most people hold the stereotype that all schizophrenics are dangerous and willing to do anything to corrupt peace. That is a completely false belief. Many sufferers of this disease carry out normal lives and have only short spurts of schizophrenia effects. People suffering from paranoid schizophrenia have delusions and auditory hallucinations. Although they struggle with imaginary variables in their life, most people suffering from paranoid schizophrenia can live a normal life. Paranoid schizophrenics suffer from delusions containing false memories of being persecuted by a certain individual or organization, which is why victims of this type of schizophrenia can exhibit anger, anxiety, aloofness, and can be argumentative. Disorganized schizophrenics suffer from jumbled speech. People with this type of schizophrenia are usually confused and incoherent. They may seem emotionless and dull. Disorganized schizophrenic’s behavior can range from being inappropriate to even childlike. Sufferers of this type will have trouble carrying out daily responsibilities like showering or cooking meals. Another type of schizophrenia is catatonic. People with catatonic schizophrenia have more physical side effects than mental ones. They are usually unresponsive to the world around them and can sometimes be emotionless. Some become unyielding and rigid and reluctant to move. People with this form of schizophrenia develop peculiar habits such as walking in place for a long period of time or jumping in place. Another type of schizophrenia people can suffer from is undifferentiated schizophrenia. People suffering from this disorder are put into this category only because their symptoms are nothing like any of the other types of schizophrenia. The last type of schizophrenia is residual schizophrenia. Sufferers of this type have endured the disorder for a while, and their symptoms are slowly starting to fade out. This type of schizophrenia is the homestretch for people who were diagnosed with the disorder earlier in their lifespan. Since schizophrenia can be categorized in so many different ways, it’s a very complex and hard to diagnose. Not only is it problematic, but it is also very difficult to control.
Not Only a Danger to the Mind, But a Danger to Society
In today’s society, things have become extremely violent and chaotic at times. Many mass shootings, murders, and attacks have been performed in the recent years and they all seem to have one thing in common. Most of the citizens who have carried out these horrific actions have suffered from either schizophrenia or other psychotic disorders.
Aside from ignorance, images of the aggressive, sadistic “schizophrenic” are plentiful in the media. Such stereotypes only further the stigma and quash any shred of sympathy for individuals with this illness, writes Dr. Torrey. Stigma has a slew of negative consequences. It’s been associated with reduced housing and employment opportunities, diminished quality of life, low self-esteem and more symptoms and stress.
Although a high number of the mass shooters have been schizophrenic or suffered from a mental disorder, not all people with these disorders are dangerous. Throughout history schizophrenics have been looked at as a danger to society and as people without any ability to function normally or live a normal life. Schizophrenia is the leprosy or modern times. The catch is that most of the population does not have enough information about schizophrenia to understand it fully. Although it can be dangerous and deadly at times, if cared for correctly, the victim of the disorder can live a normal life. That is why schizophrenia needs to be treated and taken care of in a different and new way to lower the percentage of horrific events like mass shootings.
Taking a look into the lives of the mass shooters gives us a better look as to why people suffering from these diseases need to be watched carefully. In an article concerning the mass shootings that have taken place in America recently, Follman, Aronsen, and Pan (2014, p. 1) stated about the killers, “A majority were mentally troubled—and many displayed signs of it before setting out to kill.” This is an astonishing and scary fact to think about. James Holmes, Adam Lanza and any of the other killers all suffered from some sort of disorder that affected their mental disposition and their daily life. Adam Lanza, who attacked Sandy Hook Elementary School and killed twenty students and six adult staff members, was diagnosed with sensory processing disorder as a young boy. He was disturbed when touched or sometimes even talked to when he was young, but he apparently had grown out of it. James Holmes, who killed twelve people and injured fifty eight in a Colorado movie theater, was rumored to be a paranoid schizophrenic. People with mental disorders causing chaos even dates all the way back to the 1970’s. Richard Trenton Chase was labeled as “The Vampire of Sacramento.” He was known for drinking the blood of people he had murdered, then eating their remains. As a child, Chase showed signs of a mental disability early on. He would trap small animals and would eat their organs. It is not only the psychotic disorder that may cause someone to go crazy. Both of these men were suffering from a mental disorder, but substance abuse was also an issue.
The Link between Substance Abuse and Mental Disorders
It may seem like an obvious statement that not keeping a close eye on people suffering from mental disorders could cause major problems, but people seem to ignore it. The parents of the two killers previously mentioned wanted their children to live a normal life, although they were suffering from a life-altering disorder. They tried to give their children everything a normal child would get and they tried to give them every opportunity, even if it could open a new door. Many of the people who carried out the mass shootings were not only suffering from a mental disorder but they were also under the influence of some type of drug or alcohol. James Holmes, the so called “Batman Killer”, enjoyed using LSD and other hallucinogenic drugs. When paired with his mental illness, this was a very bad mixture.
The study found that 31% of people who had both a substance abuse disorder and a psychiatric disorder (a "dual diagnosis") committed at least one act of violence in a year, compared with 18% of people with a psychiatric disorder alone. This confirmed other research that substance abuse is a key contributor to violent behavior. (“Mental Illness and Violence”).
Mixing drugs or alcohol with a mental disorder is the worst possible mixture. Statistics prove that people with schizophrenia can be dangerous, but if the victim adds in alcohol or drugs, the sufferer is three times more likely to commit a violent act compared to schizophrenics not abusing drugs or alcohol.
Is It the Parent’s Fault?
One major issue that needs to be resolved is the issue of parents of schizophrenics being too easy going. As stated earlier, the parents want their child to live a normal life. Not only is this a dangerous decision for them, but it also increases danger to others around their child. Too often, parents of schizophrenics do not take the disorder seriously enough. They believe that their child can do and will do all things any normal child can do without fault. This is a false belief. Catatonic schizophrenics cannot handle the normal daily routine, and when they are urged to perform like everyone else, they start to go crazy. Not only is it difficult for the schizophrenic to live in a normal household, but it is also difficult for the family of the patient to adapt to the disorder.
Brady and McCain (2005, Vol. 10) stated, Many family reports of the caregiving burdens of living with someone with schizophrenia are negative. The uncertain course of the disease, disturbing behavior, loneliness, lack of external support from other than family members, lack of reciprocity in relations with the patient, continual grieving for the member's lost potential, and fear of unpredictable mood changes including violent outbursts, are identified as problems by family members of chronic patients.
The Final Verdict
There are many things that could take the blame for terrible events like mass shootings, bombings and murders taking place. Although having a mental disorder can bring on anger spurts, confused action, and hallucinations, they are not the cause of these disasters. Yes, it is the person with the disorder performing the event, but sometimes it is not completely their fault. Without instruction or discipline, schizophrenics have the opportunity to do whatever they please. When parents of those afflicted with mental illness give their kids the opportunities they do, disasters can happen. Adam Lanza had guns readily available, which gave him the opening to use them for evil. James Holmes had weapons like guns and even bombs at his disposal, and no one thought of it as a scary thing.
Opportunity is the most important word throughout all these statements. Without the opportunity these killers had, none of the events would have taken place. These schizophrenics and people with other mental disorders should be watched and cared for more carefully. Without careful watch and attention, they could operate their plots and carry out horrific events. With schizophrenics being watched and treated more carefully, America can be a safe and confident nation. Not only can this protect the sufferers of these horrible diseases, but it can also save everyone around them.