By reading this section and educating yourself about schizophrenia, you have taken the first step to help eliminate misperceptions about this devastating illness. Now you can help stop perpetuating the cycle of misinformation that surrounds schizophrenia. When you see someone with mental illness being made fun of in the media, don’t laugh. Tell whoever you’re with that the joke is inappropriate and unkind. Try not to use adjectives as nouns. To call someone a “schizophrenic” implies that they are defined more by their disease than by their personality.
When you see someone who appears to be mentally ill, don’t be afraid - most likely he or she wants to be left alone and has no intention to harm others. Volunteer for a mental health research agency like NARSAD or NAMI, the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill. In so doing you might come into contact with family members, friends, or people with mental illness who can increase your understanding about these disorders.
Finally, talk to others about mental illness. Share the knowledge you have and continue to learn more. The key to eradicating stigma is through increasing understanding.
Each year, more young people are diagnosed with schizophrenia. These individuals lose touch with their own reality and live in a confusing and often scary world. Physical diseases such as cancer or AIDS receive a great deal of financial support because they cause great sadness for many patients and their families.
Although schizophrenia is not in itself a deadly disease, it causes equal pain. Because someone with schizophrenia is often so removed from reality, many families feel as though they have lost a loved one. To this end, researchers must continue studying what causes this mental illness and how to treat it. The government and private philanthropic organizations are needed to continue to fund research that will help us to learn more about schizophrenia. Until we can completely prevent or cure schizophrenia, there remains work to be done.
Heather Barnett Veague, Ph.D.
Heather Barnett Veague attended the University of California, Los Angeles,
and received her Ph.D. in psychology from Harvard University in 2004. She
is the author of several journal articles investigating information processing
and the self in borderline personality disorder. Currently, she is the Director
of Clinical Research for the Laboratory of Adolescent Sciences at Vassar
College. Dr. Veague lives in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, with her husband
- National Alliance on Mental Illness, "About Mental Illness." Available online. URL: http://www.nami.org/template.cfm?section=By_Illness. Accessed February 22, 2007.
- American Experience, "People and Events: Recovery from Schizophrenia." Available online. URL: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/nash/ peopleevents/e_recovery.html. Accessed February 22, 2007.
- John F. Nash Jr., "Autobiography." Availalable online. URL: http://nobelprize.org/economics/ laureates/1994/nash-autobio.html. Accessed May 10, 2007.
- Sylvia Nasar, A Beautiful Mind. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1998, 335.
- American Experience,"Transcript." Available online. URL: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/nash/filmmore/pt.html. Accessed February 22, 2007.
- See note 2.
- Robert L. Spitzer et al., eds., DSM-IV-TR Casebook: A Learning Companion to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. 4th ed., Text Revision. (Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Publishing, 2004), 189 - 90.
- H. Hafner et al., "The Influence of Age and Sex on the Onset and Early Course of Schizophrenia." British Journal of Psychiatry 162 (1993): 80 - 86.
- E. Fuller Torrey, Surviving Schizophrenia: A Manual for Families, Consumers and Providers, 3rd ed. New York: Harper Perennial, 1995, p. 79.
- G.A. Fava and R. Kellner, "Prodromal Symptoms in Affective Disorders." American Journal of Psychiatry 148 (1991): 828 - 830.
- British Columbia Schizophrenia Society, "Basic Facts about Schizophrenia," Available online. URL: http://www.mentalhealth.com/book/ p40-sc02.html#Head_4. Downloaded on November 13, 2006.
- Quoted in J.N. Butcher, S. Mineka, and J.M. Hooley, Abnormal Psychology. Pearson: Boston, 2004.
- Harrison et al., "Recovery from Psychotic Illness: A 15- and 25-year International Follow-up Study." British Journal of Psychiatry 178 (2001): 506 - 517.
- N.C. Andreasen, "The Role of the Thalamus in Schizophrenia." Canadian Journal of Psychiatry 42 (1997): 27 - 33.
- J. Hooley and S. Candela, "Interpersonal Functioning in Schizophrenia." In Oxford Textbook of Psychopathology, edited by T. Million, P.H. Blaney, and R.D. Davis. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.
- J.D. Hegarty et al., "One Hundred Years of Schizophrenia: A Meta Analysis of the Outcome Literature." American Journal of Psychiatry 151, no. 10 (1994): 1409 - 1416.
- E.Q. Wu et al., "The Economic Burden of Schizophrenia in the United States in 2002." Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 66, no. 9 (2005): 1122 - 1129.
- C. Wallace, P.E. Mullen, and P. Burgess, "Criminal Offending in Schizophrenia over a 25-year Period Marked by Deinstitutionalization and Increasing Prevalence of Comorbid Substance Use Disorders." American Journal of Psychiatry, 161 (2004): 716 - 727.
- Suicide and Mental Health Association International, "NARSAD Publishes Top 10 Myths About Mental Illness Based on Nationwide Survey." Available online. URL: http://suicideandmentalhealth associationinternational.org/factsmythsment.html. Accessed February 22, 2007.
Provided by ArmMed Media