What is Schizophrenia?

This blog post contains discussions of schizophrenia. This post is for informational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. For questions related to advice, diagnosis, or treatment please contact a licensed medical provider.

Growing up around someone with schizophrenia gave me a front row seat to the disorder and the toll it can take on an individual and their loved ones.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines schizophrenia as “a mental illness that is characterized by disturbances in thought (such as delusions), perception (such as hallucinations), and behavior (such as disorganized speech or catatonic behavior), by a loss of emotional responsiveness and extreme apathy, and by noticeable deterioration in the level of functioning in everyday life.”

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Image by ElisaRiva from Pixabay

The definition seems very straightforward, but, to anyone who has cared for someone coping with the disorder, schizophrenia can be all-encompassing and an individual voyage into uncharted territory. There is no cure for the disorder, but treatment and management of symptoms is possible through medication, talk therapy, and a strong social support system.

I was inspired to make a LibGuide about the disorder, not only to add to our library’s collection of LibGuides, but also to educate the general community about the disorder. Schizophrenia is more prevalent than the average person may realize. In fact, 30% of the homeless population in the United States is estimated to have schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, or bipolar disorder. The number of people in prisons with schizophrenia is also shockingly high, with an estimated of 24% of municipal jail inmates suffering from the disorder. Without access to psychiatric hospitals or care, many schizophrenics go untreated and end up wandering the streets, sleeping on subways, or becoming incarcerated, usually for a non-violent crime.

Please feel free to visit the LibGuide on Schizophrenia and share your thoughts. I added a simulation video section to the LibGuide so that people may be able to experience what a patient experiences during their symptoms and have a better understanding of the disorder.

This post was contributed by Annette Carr, Librarian at the School of Health Sciences at Bay Shore

References

Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Schizophrenia. In Merriam-Webster.com dictionary. Retrieved April 30, 2020, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/schizophrenia

Ramsay, C. E., Goulding, S. M., Broussard, B., Cristofaro, S. L., Abedi, G. R., & Compton, M. T. (2011). From handcuffs to hallucinations: Prevalence and psychosocial correlates of prior incarcerations in an urban, predominantly african american sample of hospitalized patients with first-episode psychosis. The Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, 39(1), 57-64. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3612963/

Wiltz, T. (2019). ‘Gravely disabled’ homeless forced into mental health care in more states. Retrieved from https://pew.org/2ULfUAb

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