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Affects of Schizophrenia

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Schizophrenia from the Greek word meaning "split mind" is a mental disorder that has been affecting men and women since 2000 B.C. Symptoms such as delusions, hallucinations, disorganized thoughts and speech usually occur in the late teens or early twenties and continue throughout a life time. Although the symptoms can be eased with medication it's a disorder that will never completely go away. Schizophrenia affects not only the person with the disorder but also the friends and family members of the individual. The disorder enables individuals to be able to tell the difference between real and unreal events, which makes it hard for them to live normal lives, hold jobs and take care of a family.

More than two million Americans suffer from Schizophrenia and 50 % of people that are in a psychiatric center suffer from the disorder (Schizophrenia). Many individuals with the disorder are disabled they can't hold jobs or even hold a conversation. Doctors have yet to find exact causes of Schizophrenia but it has been known to run in families, which suggests that genetics might be involved. There are many symptoms of the illness but that doesn't mean that everyone experiences the same thing. Some people might suffer from delusions, loss of hygiene and loss of appetite where another person may suffer from hallucinations, social withdrawal and depersonalization (Schizophrenia). It sometimes takes years for an individual to accept that they have a problem and to seek help and get medication. 15% of individuals who suffer from schizophrenia and don't get treatment end up committing suicide (Long). Although there is no cure for schizophrenia it is treatable.

Schizophrenia is a disorder that dramatically affects the person who has the disorder but also affects the friends and family members of the individual. It can be very stressful for a family to have to take care of person almost as if they are taking care of a little kid again. The illness can be confusing for most family members. Being the first to usually notice the changes in behavior the family can become almost annoyed and scared of the persons behavior (Kemp). It's very hard for a person suffering from schizophrenia to have a relationship. Since the disorder can cause paranoia its often put the significant other in a hard spot because all they want to do is help their loved one but the individual suffering from the disorder thinks that the person is out to get them. It's like having the person you love and the person you know so well just change to a whole different human being. You know you'll never fully get that person back so you have to decide whether you can handle staying around. Although the individual suffers from the disorder and really needs your help you have to think about what's best for yourself too. Work and school can be very challenging to a person suffering from schizophrenia (Kemp). Normal activities such as driving, walking or eating become tough for a person suffering. So you can only imagine how the family would have to deal with it. They now have to make arrangements for somebody to take care of their 20-year-old son. Or may even have to quit their job to make sure that nothing happens to their son. A person who once bathed, dressed and fed himself now has to depend on their family. It'd be just like having a toddler again. It can tear a family down. It's a lot easier to carry around a two-year-old than it is to carry around a 20 year old. The family always has to worry about what that person might do today. Are they going to wake up? Will the commit suicide? Will they be afraid of me and attack me? Will they know who I am? There are so many things that the family of a person suffering from schizophrenia have to deal with. Family members also need to know when they can't be helpful anymore. Some families try so hard and they think they are successful and then the person commits suicide. They need to know when its time to seek more help.

Family can be extremely helpful to someone suffering from schizophrenia but family members need to know how to cope with the disorder. The most important thing to do is take care of your self. You have to know when you can no longer help the individual by yourself. Support groups are a great way for families to help cope with disorder (Kemp). The best thing about support groups is that they let you know that you're not alone. You get a chance to meet other families that have gone through the exact same thing that you have. They might have tips or clues that will help you take care of yourself and the individual that is suffering from schizophrenia. It's a way for the family to better understand what the person is going through or might go through. It will make things a lot easier for the family when they know what they're up against. Families shouldn't be to hard or critical or even take over the life of the person suffering from schizophrenia because in the end it will only make things harder. And once again you must first take care of yourself (Kemp). There might be a point when the family or primary caregiver becomes to stressed out that they might become depressed but ignore their depression to care for their loved one. There is always help out there so when families feel like they can't handle it anymore they shouldn't be ashamed for seeking help. Sometimes the person who is suffering may be better off in a hospital than in a home where everyone is depressed because of them.

I think my life would be extremely disorganized if I lived with a family member who suffered from schizophrenia. My 1-year-old nephew moved in with us a few months ago and that's changed my life a lot more than I thought it would. I used to wake up 30 minutes before I had to be at work but now I wake up and hour and half early so that I can feed and play with my nephew. Plus I'm always used to leaving my room and house one way and coming home



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