Written by: Mutshidzi Kwinda
There are several conditions under the umbrella of psychosis that are classified and branched into different types and subtypes of mental health illnesses. Of the known psychotic disorders, schizophrenia is one of the common ones. However, even though many people know it exists, they don’t quite understand it. Which is one of the leading reasons for the stigma around it and other mental illnesses.
What is Schizophrenia?
According the Oxford medical dictionary; schizophrenia is a “severe mental illness which is characterized by a disintegration of the process of thinking, contact with reality, and emotional responsiveness.” Several studies note that although it is most common in men, it also affects women of all age groups, especially between the ages of 20-28 and 26-32 for men and women respectively. The diagnosis of schizophrenia is done only if a patient presents with one of the known signs and symptoms for at least one month.
Common signs and symptoms of schizophrenia may include:
Disturbed sense of self
Loss of energy and initiative
How can you support a loved one with schizophrenia?
With the stigma tied to schizophrenia. It is common you may feel helpless, confused, or even embarrassed by the signs and symptoms of your loved one who is struggling with schizophrenia. But with love and support, and not “buying into the myths and misconceptions” recovery is possible.
Equip yourself with the right information about schizophrenia so that you can be able to make informed decisions for yourself and for your loved one who has schizophrenia.
While availing yourself to help your loved one feel better, and enjoy life. Don’t forget to constantly check in on yourself too. There are many challenges related to schizophrenia (ranging from its symptoms to societal views). And therefore you need to be ready to accept the illness/disorder and its challenges. It won’t be easy for both of you. However it is possible to live a full and meaningful life regardless.
When a disorder is not well understood, it ends up being misinterpreted in many different ways. This is when we begin to see a huge gap between those affected and society. As a result, those with a disorder in question suffer from rejection, withdrawal, diminished self-esteem, among other negative impacts.
Education is important. Not only for this particular illness but for all mental-related illnesses and disorders.