Schizophrenia comes in multiple types, and the most devastating kind seems to be “Catatonic Schizophrenia,” where the patient seems so removed from the society of others that they literally cannot move. Schizophrenia is the most debilitating of all the mental diseases, accounting for about 1% of the total population.
When I was teaching at a Midwestern university, I frequently chatted with the custodian, a sweet and gentle woman who loved to read. One day when we were talking, she told me about her two sons and their father, a man she had been married to for over 25 years. He was a Schizophrenic, under regular care and taking his medications as prescribed. He worked, and had a family life, where he maintained good relationships with his wife and kids. The idea of a Schizophrenic conjures up those images we often see on television: homeless, dirty, rambling, and scary individuals. It is likely far from the reality of most of these people.
Paranoid Schizophrenics are the ones most often depicted in films and on television. It is the most common of the types of Schizophrenia, but like the other kinds, can be treated by regular care and medications, if taken as prescribed. It can include hallucinations and delusional thinking, where the patient hears things and see things that are not real. Sometimes they can be violent, but not always.
Causes of Schizophrenia are both environmental and genetic. One thing that you may find startling is “One precaution is not to smoke marijuana. A recent study showed that a person with the genetic disposition for schizophrenia . . . increased their risk by 1,000% if they also smoked marijuana.” In this era of a social push for the legalization for marijuana will we be creating more Schizophrenics by legalizing this drug? It’s worth considering.
Symptoms emerge in most people at mid to late teen years, but can show its emergence for women as late as 30 years old. Recently, very young children were diagnosed with it in the same family, but this is rare, if not a complete misdiagnosis. The disease, in all of its forms and types is enough genetically caused that usually it runs in families, though having a parent with it is not a guarantee that their children will eventually have it.
It isn’t the same as “split personality.” The person who has that has another kind of mental illness, and in medical circles, there’s still plenty of disagreement if split personality is a genuine disorder. Count your blessings if you have neither of these disorders.