Living with Schizophrenia
In today’s modern world, research has found and diagnosed multiple mental illnesses. Through this spread of information, psychologists generated Schizophrenia. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, Schizophrenia involves a range of cognitive, behavioral, and emotional symptoms, and can be difficult to diagnose. There is no test for it, resulting in the diagnoses involving the recognition of negative symptoms that impact social functioning. These symptoms include diminished emotional expression, delusions, and hallucinations, etc. all for at least one-month or longer. Schizophrenia is related to social dysfunction, where individuals struggle with completing education, maintaining employment, and forming social bonds outside of immediate family.
Despite the social advancements society has made, individuals with mental illnesses still struggle to live with their diagnoses. An individual with Schizophrenia may have difficulty completing school because of their difference compared to the societal norm. In an anonymous story of an individual, she was diagnosed at 11 years old, not understanding the world she just got put into. With the help of her parents and therapist, she was able to move forward and graduate high school, further continuing on to college (Nami, 2018). She shares her story to prove that despite the diagnoses, she chose to push through it. As a result of symptoms including disorganized speech and disorganized or catatonic behavior, living a normal life may be demanding, but with modern treatment and medications, blending into society has become less of a task.
In addition to the social difficulties, Schizophrenia is economically demanding for individuals. It now consumes a federal cost of about $63 billion a year for direct treatment, societal, and family costs (The Internet Mental Health Initiative, n.d.). This further leads to individuals being homeless because of a lack of income. Approximately 200,000 individuals with schizophrenia are homeless, consulting one-third of the 600,000 homeless population (Department of Health and Human Services, n.d.). This is a result of the difficulty individuals experience from the hardships of maintaining a job. Schizophrenia patients have trouble joining the workforce, cutting off a chance at generating their own income. This makes the family responsible for care and money, putting a toll on the overall family dynamic. Recent American studies report that 45 percent acknowledge they need treatment but were not for many reasons, one involving that the treatment is too expensive (Treatment Advocacy Center, 2018). The social and economic hardships faced with those diagnosed are only some factors featured in each of their lives.
As patients get older, it seems to get harder to form social bonds outside of their close family. Positive symptoms describe those that schizophrenia adds to a person. The common known positive symptoms of schizophrenia, hallucinations and delusions, can interfere with their ability to socialize with others. Negative symptoms reflect the absence of traits and abilities that most other people have. The negative symptom of low motivation may interfere socially because some people are simply not motivated enough to interact with others. Cognitive symptoms are related to thinking and memory. Some people find organizing their thoughts to be difficult, which can affect how they express themselves in social situations (Brichford, 2009). Despite all of this, there are training skills that can help patients become more socially active. Most classes focus on illness management or job training, but the best training focuses on cognition skills. The social cognition class helps people become more aware of facial expressions of others, which is essential for a successful social interaction. Furthermore, support groups are offered all over America and provide a welcoming environment for people who deal with the same illnesses to share experiences and make friendships. They prove that patients are not alone in their experiences and that many go through what they have. Interesting enough, no two people experience schizophrenia in the same way, but hearing other people’s stories may influence another patient to share their story as well.
Attaining an insight of how an individual with schizophrenia lives is highly difficult because each patient is different and experiences each symptom uniquely. Using scientific facts and case studies allowed therapists and affected family members to gain more understanding about the mental illness and how the individual can live with it. All of the economic and social hardships it comes with play an important role in how to live with it, but it is how each patient overcomes all of it that proves mental illnesses do not impede anyone from living the best life fit for them.