Mental Health

Schizophrenia – “People Say I’m Crazy”

MY ILLNESS

Schizophrenia – “People Say I’m Crazy”

 by John Cadigan

Published 06/10/2009
I have schizophrenia, which is a brain disease that usually hits most severely when the brain reaches maturity—around 20 or 21 years old. I had my first psychotic break when I was in my senior year of college and have been disabled by the illness for over ten years now.

My official diagnosis is schizoaffective disorder, which means that in addition to having symptoms of schizophrenia, I also have trouble with depression. I’m lucky to have a very supportive family and a wonderful doctor who have helped me learn how to live with my illness. The new generation of anti-psychotic medications that became available in the mid-1990s made a big difference.

I’m doing so much better now than during the first horrible years of being sick. I have an art studio and am able to work a couple of hours a day. I’m able to live on my own now, and one of my best friends lives in my building. Lately I’ve become deeply interested in spirituality and have found a wonderful spiritual director through my church.

Everyone with schizophrenia needs to know there is hope. This is what helped me:

  • Find an understanding, kind doctor who knows a lot about schizophrenia and the latest treatments
  • Take advantage of local mental health services—sometimes they can help get you a case manager, a social worker, housing and even employment
  • Stop drinking alcohol and using drugs that aren’t prescribed—they interfere with medication and make recovery almost impossible
  • Learn as much as you can about the nature of the illness, and then study your symptoms to figure out warning signs and ways to avoid bad episodes

*A Note from Forum Admin:
We found John on Twitter and we have been following him long after this short article was found buried on DF.  We greatly admire his wonderful courage and his art.
See his website at “People say I’m Crazy”
Read More:
 Schizophrenia

MY ILLNESS

Schizophrenia – “People Say I’m Crazy”

    
 

 by John Cadigan

Published 06/10/2009
I have schizophrenia, which is a brain disease that usually hits most severely when the brain reaches maturity—around 20 or 21 years old. I had my first psychotic break when I was in my senior year of college and have been disabled by the illness for over ten years now.

My official diagnosis is schizoaffective disorder, which means that in addition to having symptoms of schizophrenia, I also have trouble with depression. I’m lucky to have a very supportive family and a wonderful doctor who have helped me learn how to live with my illness. The new generation of anti-psychotic medications that became available in the mid-1990s made a big difference.

I’m doing so much better now than during the first horrible years of being sick. I have an art studio and am able to work a couple of hours a day. I’m able to live on my own now, and one of my best friends lives in my building. Lately I’ve become deeply interested in spirituality and have found a wonderful spiritual director through my church.

Everyone with schizophrenia needs to know there is hope. This is what helped me:

  • Find an understanding, kind doctor who knows a lot about schizophrenia and the latest treatments
  • Take advantage of local mental health services—sometimes they can help get you a case manager, a social worker, housing and even employment
  • Stop drinking alcohol and using drugs that aren’t prescribed—they interfere with medication and make recovery almost impossible
  • Learn as much as you can about the nature of the illness, and then study your symptoms to figure out warning signs and ways to avoid bad episodes

 *A Note from Forum Admin:
We found John on Twitter and we have been following him long after this short article was found buried on DF.  We greatly admire his wonderful courage and his art.
See his website at “People say I’m Crazy”


An Overview of Schizophrenia


What Is It?

What Causes Schizophrenia?

How Is It Treated?

How Can Other People Help?

What Is The Outlook?

WHAT IS IT?


Schizophrenia is a chronic, severe, and disabling brain disease. Approximately 1 percent of the population develops schizophrenia during their lifetime – more than 2 million Americans suffer from the illness in a given year. Although schizophrenia affects men and women with equal frequency, the disorder often appears earlier in men, usually in the late teens or early twenties, than in women, who are generally affected in the twenties to early thirties. People with schizophrenia often suffer terrifying symptoms such as hearing internal voices not heard by others, or believing that other people are reading their minds, controlling their thoughts, or plotting to harm them. These symptoms may leave them fearful and withdrawn. Their speech and behavior can be so disorganized that they may be incomprehensible or frightening to others. Available treatments can relieve many symptoms, but most people with schizophrenia continue to suffer some symptoms throughout their lives; it has been estimated that no more than one in five individuals recovers completely.

This is a time of hope for people with schizophrenia and their families. Research is gradually leading to new and safer medications and unraveling the complex causes of the disease. Scientists are using many approaches from the study of molecular genetics to the study of populations to learn about schizophrenia. Methods of imaging the brain’s structure and function hold the promise of new insights into the disorder.

Schizophrenia As An Illness

Schizophrenia is found all over the world. The severity of the symptoms and long-lasting, chronic pattern of schizophrenia often cause a high degree of disability. Medications and other treatments for schizophrenia, when used regularly and as prescribed, can help reduce and control the distressing symptoms of the illness. However, some people are not greatly helped by available treatments or may prematurely discontinue treatment because of unpleasant side effects or other reasons. Even when treatment is effective, persisting consequences of the illness – lost opportunities, stigma, residual symptoms, and medication side effects – may be very troubling.

 Read More…
 Schizophrenia

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