Insight into Schizophrenia

17th October 2023

Eugen Bleuler (1857-1939)

Schizophrenia is defined as a chronic, severe, and disabling brain disorder that has been recognized throughout recorded history. It affects about 1 percent of Americans.

People with schizophrenia may hear voices other people don't hear or they may believe that others are reading their minds, controlling their thoughts, or plotting to harm them. These experiences are terrifying and can cause fearfulness, withdrawal, or extreme agitation. People with schizophrenia may not make sense when they talk, may sit for hours without moving or talking much, or may seem perfectly fine until they talk about what they are really thinking.Because many people with schizophrenia have difficulty holding a job or caring for themselves, the burden on their families and society is significant as well. (Source: NIMH. disorder is a condition in which a person meets the criteria for both schizophrenia and a mood disorder.The term was first introduced in 1933. Some patients showed symptoms of both schizophrenia, with hallucinations and delusions, in addition to symptoms of elevated mood or depressed mood.Some feel that schizoaffective disorder should not be treated as a distinct disorder from schizophrenia, but rather as schizophrenia with some mood symptoms. (Source: Mayo Clinic.Com, December 22, 2006. ).Treatments:
The common treatments for schizophrenia involve use of drugs. In past, antipsychotics such as Haldol (haloperidol) a   strong tranquilizing drug, Thorazine (cholopromazine) or Prolixin were used  frequently. The side effects for these drugs are potent and debilitating. These drugs are known as "neuroleptics").
Attention to lifestyle issues and even more strictness and vigilance on the matter of mental and physical hygiene for adults, children and teenagers effected by schizophrenia, or schizoaffective disorders-a combination of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, can be of utmost help. Work very hard at mental hygiene, make whatever changes might be necessary. It can make a difference.

Such adjustments as turning down the intensity and frequency of the music one listens to, especially a child or teenager. Avoiding anything that might have spiritistic or occult overtones.

Avoiding any violence. Some persons are very sensitive emotionally, even violent sports, action movies, any cartoons that have violence (Bugs Bunny, Disney, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers), all of these fast paced cartoons can effect the mind of certain children and young adults. YuGiYo and Pokemon also have spiritistic overtones which can contribute to a child or teenagers difficulties in coping with reality. Of course, the movies today, R-rated and slasher, horror movies, are much more violent, and these can also effect the minds of some sensitive persons to the point of delusional thinking. (Even Hitchcock type movies or old horror movies can be too intense for many persons.)

The same can be said for video games. Many, if not most, can be overwhelming for the minds of  some children and young adults.

Some minds are very sensitive and in the case of schizophrenia, or schizoaffective disorder, strict mental hygiene can be very helpful in improving symptoms. Medications do not always quiet the voices or delusions, perhaps in less than half of those who take medicine is there positive effect. Sometimes the positive effect with medication treatment for schizophrenia is temporary.

Any parent who tries to help a child with severe mental health disorders through attention to mental hygiene, needs to take care to:

  1. not abruptly change an already exisiting medication regimine. Gradual reduction is preferable.
  2. replace any activities such as TV or movies, with positive recreational activities such as art, music lessons, music CDs that are enjoyable but gentler in their intensity, time outdoors, camping, etc.
  3. Spirituality: There is also a spiritual side of mental health that might effect some in the case of schizophrenia and in hearing voices.