Schizophrenia's True Facts Help Treatment Processes

Article excerpt

Byline: Dianna Hubay

Jeanne was just about to graduate from college where she had been studying toward a degree in anthropology.

Rather suddenly, things began changing inside Jeanne. She stopped caring about her appearance and became convinced that every conversation around her was about her and negatively focused. She accused her best friend of controlling her thoughts, as she could hear her friends' words repeated to her over and over in her head.

Jeanne was diagnosed with schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia is a disease of the brain characterized by a disturbance in the thinking process, i.e., hallucinations and delusions, and extensive withdrawal from the outside world and other people.

Some facts about schizophrenia gathered by the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (1993) include:

- Schizophrenia is biologically-based.

- Approximately one percent of the population of the United States is diagnosed, at some point in their lives, with schizophrenia.

- Schizophrenia is not caused by weakness of character or bad parents.

- Schizophrenia is treatable, but there is no known cure.

- Drug therapy is usually highly effective in schizophrenia and those affected are often able to lead fulfilling and productive lives.

- Schizophrenia can affect anyone at any time.

- It is more common when there is a family history.

- The first psychotic episode usually occurs in late adolescence or early adulthood.

- Seventy-five percent of those affected develop the disease between 16 and 25 years of age.

- Onset after age 40 is rare.

- More men than women are affected in the 16-25 year old age group.

- Of those age 25-30 at onset, more are women.

Fairly predictable in schizophrenia are symptoms of thought disorder, where there is diminished ability to think clearly, logically or sequentially. …