The Beautiful Mind. 15 Park Avenue. Shutter Island. The Roommate.

Parveen Babi. Vincent van Gogh.

“The raving maniac” “Paagal”

Out of the many mental conditions, schizophrenia continues to find a place in our media, literature, and language. Yet, it is misunderstood by most people.

Schizophrenia is the most well known of the psychoses. The psychoses are the most severe form of emotional disorders; they constitute one extreme end of the mental illness continuum. The primary feature of schizophrenia is said to be the loss of contact with reality. The person can no longer draw any line, or any reliable line, between his own subjective, imaginary inner world and the outer world of socially validated reality – the “real external world”. Schizophrenia “strikes at the very heart of what we consider the essence of the person” (Carpenter, 1987).

Schizophrenia is a disorder characterized by an cluster of diverse symptoms, including extreme oddities in perception, thinking, action, sense of self, and manner of relating to others. The symptoms of schizophrenia typically appear in late adolescence or early adulthood, wax and wane over the life course, and have a profound long-term effect on persons and their families.

Jayesh, a 20-year-old student successful academically and socially in his first term at college. But in his final term, he began to have difficulty studying effectively and often had difficulty sleeping. He stopped attending classes regularly and increasingly spent time alone. His parents were worried about him because he had been behaving strangely since returning to him home after completing his graduation from Kolkata. He had performed poorly and said he came home to ‘sort his head out’. Since his return, Jayesh’s parents had noticed that he lacked concentration and his conversation was incoherent much of the time. Also, his behavior was erratic and unpredictable.

His parents became particularly concerned when he went missing some weeks prior to the referral. After searching for two days, he was found in a different part of city. Apparently Jayesh believed he had to complete a secret mission in his college. According to the family doctor, Jayesh’s account was not coherent. Since the episode, Jayesh had spent much of the time in his room muttering to himself, often becoming quite distressed. When his parents spoke to him, they found it hard to make sense of what he said. He also complained of voices who tried to ‘put bad ideas’ in his head.

A key symptom of schizophrenia is a delusion, an irrational belief involving a misperception of life experiences. Delusions are usually very fixed beliefs, meaning they are highly resistant to others’ attempts to persuade the person otherwise, and are often incomprehensible and simply untrue. Jayesh’s strong but strange belief that he has been given charge to fulfil a secret mission in his college is a delusion. Hallucinations are sensory experiences a person believes to be true , when they are actually not. Jayesh’s experience of voices talking to him is an example of the same. Both delusions and hallucinations come in several forms. A range of other symptoms giving rise to restricted lifestyle involving little activity, little social interaction with others and little emotional expression.

Schizophrenia can come in the way of your general health and functioning, and also your autonomy. Persons with schizophrenia and their families can benefit greatly with the multimodal approach towards treatment comprising of online and offline psychiatric consultations and psychotherapy as well as home-visits.

Understanding Schizophrenia | Mind

Inward – Awareness about Schizophrenia | KYLOCRONEFILMS