Every year 24th May is celebrated as schizophrenia day world wide. The reason behind this celebration is to support the everyday struggle of people suffering from schizophrenia. It is often seen, people surrounding the patients with schizophrenia are bewildered about nature of illness. In many cases it is also believed that the person with schizophrenia poses a danger to family and society. But, is it the truth?
When someone has fever and that person withdraws from daily activities, we understand but in case of schizophrenia or in any other mental disorder we don’t. Because, we lack the understanding of schizophrenia or any other mental disorder as illness. So today, let’s try to understand the meaning of schizophrenia this will help us understand the patients who suffer from schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia is mental disorder, “Dis-order”, means things are not in order and in this case it’s in brain. A normal human being perceives everything through senses and creates reality around him/her. This is same for objects such as roads, buildings, noise, tree, scent, birds. Additionally, we have imagination; where we can create imaginary things, place or environment and it varies from person to person. This imagination is fantasy, we know it’s unreal.
This imagination is something that is not wired properly in patients’ of schizophrenia, in their case the distinction between real and unreal becomes blurred. Many of the imaginary objects, person or events, are perceived as real. Person cannot distinguish them as unreal, and starts believing them as real to the extent that even the evidences given are rejected. Gradually, this gets woven with real objects and surrounding, which forms illogical connections between real and unreal. Hence, the perceived reality becomes unification of both real event and imaginary event. It doesn’t stop there, at same time; patients with schizophrenia lose insight into their own problem. Things are clearly seen and understood by others as false, but patients with schizophrenia can’t.
All this leads to creation of own deluded world with hallucination in mind. The patients start reacting to it, they talk to imaginary person or voices (which they feel is real), at times they become aggressive due to altered perception of real people as enemies, they start making conclusion based on false beliefs.
Such people deserve compassion and care. So on this Worlds Schizophrenia Day let’s come together today, to end stigma for patients with schizophrenia and understand them better, have compassion for them and help them lead productive life. Let’s do our bit to give them chance to help them get life in order.
Dr. Ambrish Dhamadhikari