By Julia Guziewicz
What is Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a severe brain disorder in which people interpret reality abnormally. Schizophrenia may result in some combination of hallucinations, delusions, and extremely disordered thinking and behavior. (mayoclinic.org)
Statistics Surrounding Schizophrenia
Approximately 1% of Americans have schizophrenia. But, schizophrenia occurs in 10% of people who have a first-degree relationship with someone who has schizophrenia. Those with an identical twin diagnosed with schizophrenia are about a 40-60% chance of also being diagnosed with schizophrenia.
Do I have Schizophrenia?
The best way to answer this question would be to go see a professional. However, the following is a list of signs and/or symptoms of schizophrenia:
Delusions: Delusions are false beliefs that are not based in reality. These beliefs can be anything from the government is requesting aid for the person to the government is monitoring our brain functions. 4 out of 5 people with schizophrenia suffer from delusions
Hallucinations: Hallucinations can be anything from hearing voices to smelling things that aren't there. These experiences are very real for the person experiencing them. The most common type of hallucination is auditory hallucinations (hearing voices).
Disorganized Thinking: Disorganized thinking is a person has trouble putting thoughts together or logically connecting thoughts. A person who experiences disorganized thinking can also have garbled speech.
Disorganized Motor Behavior: Those experiencing disorganized motor behavior may have issues performing tasks or repeating certain movements. They may also display catatonic signs (no movement and no response).
Negative Symptoms: Negative symptoms are disruptions in normal emotions and behavior. These can be lack of emotions or lack of facial expressions, talking in a monotonous voice, lack of pleasure in everyday life, reduced ability to carry out ideas/plan, and becoming socially withdrawn.
Treatments for Schizophrenia
The treatment for schizophrenia is anti-psychotic medicine and therapy. Treatment is easily come by once diagnosed by a professional, as they will probably provide the patient with medicine and refer them to certain psychiatric help, based on their needs.
Living with Schizophrenia
While schizophrenia is something that will afflict a person for their entire life, they can live with it. Media does portray those with schizophrenia as psychotic and violent, but this is not often the case. Those who are diagnosed with schizophrenia will usually have to have some type of daily support, but, with appropriate help a person with schizophrenia can manage their condition. The list below is a list of famous people who have been diagnosed with schizophrenia or have been posthumously diagnosed
Syd Barret - founding member of Pink Floyd
Zelda Fitzgerald - wife of famous writer F. Scott Fitzgerald
Mary Todd Lincoln - wife of Abraham Lincoln and first lady
Vincent van Gogh - famous painter
Eduard Einstein - son of Albert Einstein
John Nash - Economist/Mathematician/Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences winner, Creator of the Nash Equilibrium, and basis of the movie "A Beautiful Mind"
A Beautiful Mind
The movie "A Beautiful Mind" tells the story of John Nash, who suffered from schizophrenia. However, this is a media representation of this mental disorder and is not accurate to either the disorder or John Nash's personal experience. The book on which this movie is based (A Beautiful Mind by Sylvia Nasar) is much more accurate.