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Schizophrenia

Borgman, D. (1986). Schizophrenia. S. Hamilton, MA: Center for Youth Studies.

 

OVERVIEW

Schizophrenia is a psychotic disorder characterized by distortions of reality. This may involve withdrawal from reality and social interaction; emotional blunting; fragmentation of perception, thought, and emotion; and disturbances in thought and behavior. Also, loss of contact with the real environment, and disintegration of personality may result.

There are ten different types of schizophrenia, ranging from truly bizarre behavior to extreme withdrawal or excitement. The onset can be sudden or gradual. Schizophrenia often emerges during the late teens or early twenties and, because of the similarity of symptoms, is frequently mistaken for drug abuse.

Schizophrenia is called the cancer of psychiatry. It has no known cause and no known cure. The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that 2.5 million, or 1% of the population, suffers from schizophrenia. It has also been estimated that two thirds of all mental patients are schizophrenic.

Approximately one third of schizophrenics recovers. Approximately one third almost recovers but must carry on with the help of medication. The remaining one third of these patients never recovers.

To control symptoms, schizophrenia is treated with anti-psychotic drugs such as Ativan, Prolixin, and Haldol. Approximately $20 million per year is spent on research; this is one third of what is needed to help combat this disease.

 

IMPLICATIONS

  1. A youth worker, teacher, or friend can often detect the symptoms before others and can discriminate between drug abuse and mental illness.
  2. Early diagnostic referral is crucial.
  3. Parents need to be relieved of guilt, as causes are usually not environmental.
  4. The family system needs support in dealing with the strain and cost of dealing with schizophrenia.
  5. Response to the treatment varies; some may function well with medication and support from family, leaders, and peers.

Dean Borgman cCYS