Psychological disorders have not seen much limelight. It has only been recently that more and more people are taking charge, spreading awareness, and bringing unspoken issues to public attention.
A disorder that many of us have possibly read or seen being portrayed in some movies is schizophrenia. Unfortunately, we simply let information dissolve in us and do not pay further heed to the subject often leaving us clueless.
This brain disorder is said to be really complex. Over the years many researchers have tried to come up with a variety of possible treatments, however, no absolute cure has been found.
Now, what is it? Apart from being a word, most people wouldn’t even bother speaking due to the effort it takes to figure out its pronunciation.
In simple words, it is a chronic brain disorder which when active can showcase symptoms such as delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech, lack of motivation, and cognition difficulties.
Genetics, brain imaging, and behavior analysis have aided experts to lift the veil and try to narrow down causes for the disease.
On the whole, an amalgamation of physical, emotional, biological, or environmental factors can cause it. Childhood trauma, pregnancy complications, and drug use are thought to be one of the many more reasons.
Even in ancient times, people were not as careful as they are now when it comes to studying mental illnesses. People in the bygones used to believe that this disease has a supernatural origin and took birth due to evil spirits, demon possession, committing a sin, etc. It was perceived that exorcism was the best remedy wherein holes were to be drilled inside the skull acting as gates for the spirits to leave the body. Thankfully this idea was rejected.
Dr. Emile Kraeplin is regarded as the first person who attempted to understand the disease and referred to it as dementia praecox. He was right about being certain that it is a brain-related disorder and not supernatural. But, he mistook it as a form of dementia.
The term “schizophrenia” was used by Eugen Bleuler in 1908 meaning split (schizo) and mind (phrene). This on the contrary sprouted misconceptions we shall later see.
During the Nazi reign, people suffering from it were considered mentally unfit and hence murdered under the Action T4 program.
The 1920s applied interpersonal psychotherapy while the 1930s tried insulin coma therapy. Since the 1970s many criteria have been formulated about the disease through the DSM manual. The intricacies have made misconceptions very common amongst general folk; these include:
- Having schizophrenia means having multiple personalities.
- It’s pretty violent.
- It can be passed on by a parent/bad parenting is the cause.
- People with schizophrenia aren’t smart.
- You can never recover from it.
These are myths and a lot of scientific evidence has proven them wrong too. Yet, a lot of false information has made society negative and hostile towards the patients.
The disorder becomes an obstacle when it comes to employment or even social support. In order to detach the stigmas, we need to do exactly what we have been doing throughout the lockdown in raising voices about depression and anxiety.
People have started to develop a lot of understanding of mental health but it is currently restricted to bipolar disorder, depression, isolation, and anxiety.
Here are a few ways to break the shackles and help the sufferers live a peaceful life of acceptance:
- Encourage equality between mental and physical health.
- Use the media to circulate authentic material.
- Be supportive and avoid linking mental illness with the idea of shame.
- Educate others using appropriate language.
- Normalize taking treatment.
A few actions can make the world a secure and nonjudgmental place.