What Is Schizophrenia, Part 1

There are many unknown variables in the world today associated with Schizophrenic disorders. Schizophrenia is a severe form of abnormal behavior that encompasses what most of us have come to know as “madness.” In the world there are many misconceptions about schizophrenia, largely due to the fact that this disorder has so many unanswered questions. For society there are major implications due to the impact that those suffering with this disorder have on not only the individual sufferers, but for family and society as a whole. According to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, the United States had a $63 billion cost associated with treatment, care, and research of schizophrenia in 2002. For those that suffer with the devastating disorder their life is certainly disputed and challenged, but not without hope.

Schizophrenic individuals do not have split personalities, in that they do not think they are multiple people. Schizophrenia is commonly confused with dissociative identity disorder (DID), and many professionals feel that persons suffering with DID have been misdiagnosed as having schizophrenia. Schizophrenia disorder presents itself in three dimensions of symptoms; positive, negative, and disorganization. An individual suffering with schizophrenic symptoms of hallucinations and delusions are said to be psychotic or positive symptoms. For those displaying lack of initiative, social withdrawal, lack or impeded emotional responses are said to have negative symptoms. And then there are symptoms that are not easily categorized into clear dysfunctions, such as; incoherence or disorganized speech, communication problems and bizarre behavioral characteristic make up the third dimension of disorganization.

Individuals suffering with schizophrenia seldom cause any threat or danger to anyone. The misconception comes up due to the delusional world in which the individuals live and the nature of the delusions. The fears, hallucinations, emotional disturbance etc… haunt the individuals and wreak havoc on their outward expressions and attitudes. These outward “abnormal” displays cause those that are unaware of the disorder to be fearful of those who suffer with the disorder. For those that suffer with schizophrenia, it is a debilitating internal battle of the mind, not an outward display of aggression and violence.

Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that is not yet fully understood and at present there is no immediate cure. However, the disorder is highly treatable with an ability to stabilize and control symptoms and episodes. Living with schizophrenia is not a death sentence. Individuals like: John Nash, Bill McPhee, Pamela Wagner, Tom Harrell, and Michael Crawford all have made incredible progress in a “normal” society as artists, musicians, writers, Nobel Prize recipients and all suffer from schizophrenia.