Friday, 10 October 2014

Mental Health Day 2014: Schizophrenia Awareness


Its World Mental Health Day today and like I said in my last post, the focus this year is on Schizophrenia. I don't know much about the illness, but I have done some research. I also said I would tell you a bit more about it so that you can become more aware, so this is the subject for this post.

Schizophrenia is commonly characterized as an illness that leads to abnormal social behaviour and a failure to recognise what is real and what is not. Currently, around 26 million people around the world suffer from it. Some people inherit it, sometimes its due to environmental factors like childhood trauma, or sometimes it is brought on by substance abuse. 

The symptoms are:
  • Losing in touch with reality
  • Seeing or hearing things that are not there
  • Irrational beliefs
  • Abnormal behaviour due to a response to hallucinations
  • Disorganised thinking or speech
  • Difficulties in paying attention and long-term memory
  • Paranoia 

I certainly have an idea how it feels to lose touch with reality, because some sufferers of anxiety experience derealisation/depersonalisation themselves, and I have experienced it before. It may occur in a different way to Schizophrenia sufferers, but I can't say because I don't have Schizophrenia.

There is no cure, but you can manage it if you take anti-psychotic medication such as amisulprideolanzapinerisperidone and clozapine. About 40-50% of patients have a good response to any of this medication, but the rest either don't respond immediately, or instead experience terrible side effects. These can include low white blood cell count, weight gain and diabetes, to name a few.

Another very sad side to this illness is that on average it decreases life expectancy by 10-25 years, because of obesity from the weight gain from the tablets, and also from increased suicide attempts in patients. Unless they get the help they need, both in some sort of therapy and medication, patients cannot begin to get better. 

Find out more about World Mental Health Day 2014

If people understand this mental health issue more, we can show some support for those suffering it and show them that they are not alone, so that they don't feel the need to take their own lives. Sometimes a feeling of community is all it takes for a mental health issue to become just that little bit more bearable, and by educating ourselves on the illness, we are helping those who suffer from having to explain. 

I got all of this information from MentalHealthOrg and Wikipedia, so if you want to know more about it click the links. This sounds like an awful illness to have, and I wouldn't wish it on anybody. I can't imagine what it must be like to deal with it everyday.

On a lighter note, I hope you all had a safe and good day today - hopefully life was kind to you, as it surprisingly was for me. Unfortunately I couldn't find a red button for #DontPanicButton to show support for anxiety and panic attack sufferers, but I was thinking about it all day. 

1 comment:

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