Schizophrenia is a group of severe brain disorders in which people interpret reality abnormally. Schizophrenia may result in some combination of hallucinations, delusions, and disordered thinking and behavior. Contrary to popular belief, schizophrenia isn’t split personality or multiple personality. The word “schizophrenia” does mean “split mind,” but it refers to a disruption of the usual balance of emotions and thinking. Schizophrenia is a chronic condition, requiring lifelong treatment.
For complete information on the symptoms, causes, and treatment of schizophrenia, please visit the Mayo Clinic’s information page on Schizophrenia.
RESOURCES & TREATMENT
The NAMI website is a great resource for people or loved ones with mental illness. I would also like to recommend a book for those dealing with schizophrenia. The book that I have found to be most informative and educational about schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder is called Surviving Schizophrenia: A Manual for Families, Patients, and Providers. This book is written by E. Fuller Torrey. Torrey has authored and co-authored a number of books on mental illness. I found his guide extremely detailed in its definitions of the various types of schizophrenia and related illnesses, and it also contains a comprehensive listing of the medications used to treat symptoms of schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder, along with their side effects, cost, and other important details. The book includes a few excerpts from people who actually have schizophrenia.
If you or someone you love is suffering from a mental illness, don’t give up hope. There is help available for you.
NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) is a great source of information on mental health and mental illness. They have an information helpline run by volunteers, a Child and Adolescent Action Center, and a legal center that provides referrals to those in need of legal help. NAMI also has both state and local NAMI organizations in all 50 states, as well as DC and Puerto Rico. Each local organization has its own website with information about local support programs and opportunities. NAMI also sponsors a free 10-week workshop for those suffering from mental illness.
The NAMI website also lists information about free or low-cost medications provided by pharmaceutical companies. Many of the pharmaceutical companies that manufacture antipsychotics, antidepressants, and mood stabilizers offer medication assistance programs to low-income individuals and families. In some cases, these programs require a doctor’s consent and proof of financial status.
The NAMI website has information on all of their programs and services at www.nami.org.