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The Effects of Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is perhaps the most misunderstood mental disorder in existence. While it is true that it is highly serious, it is also highly treatable. (Understanding Schizophrenia: Signs, Symptoms, and Causes) Schizophrenia is a worldwide, extremely debilitating mental disease. The severity of the disorder is mostly due to the chronic pattern and long-lasting symptoms. It is widely believed, however, that the worst aspect of schizophrenia is that few people actually know the true facts about it.

A mental disorder that seems to have the most dramatic effect on a person and their family would be schizophrenia. Not only is it debilitating but it is extremely confusing for the patient and those who care about the patient. (Impact of Mental Illness on Families) The symptoms of schizophrenia include but are not limited to psychosis, social isolation, withdrawal, unusual speech, and odd behavior, distorted perceptions of reality, hallucinations, delusions, disordered thinking, and inappropriate emotional responses. One can only imagine how much this can affect a person’s life. Someone who is diagnosed with schizophrenia has a very different idea of what reality is. They have a difficult time recognizing what is real and what is not. This often leads to social issues. The person with this disorder might not know of schizophrenia, therefore they may not know what is going on with them. (Impact of Mental Illness on Families)The symptoms that come along with this disorder resemble normal behavior in some ways. Most people feel paranoid at some point in time. People may also have trouble thinking straight or relaxing. Everyone experiences anxiety from time to time. The difference is however, symptoms of schizophrenia come on a much larger scale. The peoples’ emotions and reactions are extremely sensitive and disordered. For example, someone suffering from schizophrenia might confuse the thoughts in their head for “voices” telling them something negative. Schizophrenia can cause very real changes in the person and the person’s family. Medicine cannot always fix the emotional toll a mental disorder can come with.

One way schizophrenia can destroy a family is its tendency to cause denial. With any mental illness, families often deny the fact that something has changed with a loved one. They may not want to accept that something so huge has taken place. (Schizophrenia Daily News Blog) This is significant because with denial comes no action. It is very difficult for a schizophrenic patient to be their own advocate. The majority of them have trouble performing normal tasks, let alone taking themselves to the doctor. They need a trusted person there to make sure they are being treated and to make sure they are taking their medication. If the family is in denial of the disorder, they are unlikely to seek treatment. This is a huge setback, considering schizophrenic patients who actually take their medicine have been known to lead very normal and successful lives. If the family does have some idea of the person’s state of mind, sometimes they will deny it to others. (Impact of Mental Illness on Families) This means the family will probably keep the sufferer away from social situations. They don’t know how others will react if they knew that person was “crazy”. They are unknowingly isolating this person, and people cannot heal when they feel alone and hopeless. The patient needs to be around other people, especially others who are also suffering from a mental disorder.

Depression is something that can come with having a schizophrenic disorder also. As previously stated, families in denial tend to isolate the sick. This leads to no relationships outside the family. (schizophrenia.com) Having no new experiences can further the severity of the sense of unreality the patient might feel. The patient might not have anyone to relate to if kept away from society. This causes them to feel even more hopeless and eventually, depressed. Even the healthiest of minds can become depressed if they are alone. Depression can also come from the feeling that nobody understands you. (schizophrenia.com) Someone suffering from such a confusing disorder cannot possibly expect someone else to understand. The sufferer may feel alone even if they are around others because the others can’t see what they see. No matter how many people they may be around, they will never have anybody to relate to because the thoughts in their mind are so unreal.

Fear is the next major thing that schizophrenia can cause in a family. As said before, schizophrenia is one of the most misunderstood mental diseases. (Understanding Schizophrenia: Signs, Symptoms, and Causes) Having any sort of mental disease is a scary experience. Nobody ever expects it in time to prepare for it. Schizophrenic symptoms can be very vivid and real, and can cause some very real trauma. A schizophrenic patient may describe the things he sees just as he sees them, which is terrifying. This, in return can cause the trusted family member to be afraid. They will imagine the same thing that the patient is seeing as real. In reality, the disease is very controllable as long as approached properly. The social, emotional, and financial consequences are enough to scare a family. (Living Wtih Schizophrenia: A Family Perspective: Abstract and Purpose)Medication can be very expensive, and isn’t something the patient can afford to go without. There will most likely be the fear that the family can’t afford the medicine. What will the sick person do then? Another thing to fear is embarrassment. A lot of people will not understand what the patient is going through. Many people will assume they are crazy and that they have no control of their actions. Stereotypes and common misperceptions are a great cause of fear when it comes to schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia is a very misunderstood disorder that can have devastating effects on both the suffering and their loved ones. The important thing for everyone to do is get educated on the subject. This disorder is debilitating but very treatable. Having schizophrenia does not mean you are a dangerous, violent person. It just means you need the right medication and the right support to get better.





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