Schizophrenia: thriving with this rare and complex condition

2019-05-29 06:01

WITH mental health being in the spotlight more and more often, it’s time to unpack the common misconceptions regarding this rare and complex condition, schizophrenia.

What is it and can it be treated?

Not only is schizophrenia a rare and complex disease, it also creates lifelong challenges for the person living with it.

World Schizophrenia Day is observed on May 24 and highlights this condition and its symptoms. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), just over one percent of the world’s population are at risk of developing schizophrenia.

For people diagnosed with the disorder, the symptoms vary from episodes consisting of delusional behaviour, hallucinations and major difficulty coping in social or occupational situations.

Most people think schizophrenia is untreatable, and that people diagnosed with schizophrenia have very little chance of living a quality life. Pharmaceutical companies have spent years researching and developing treatment options to ensure that people diagnosed with schizophrenia can live quality lives and fulfil their potential.

Not only are treatment options more accessible, the rise of support groups has given people living with schizophrenia a safe space to speak about how their lives have been impacted.

Meet Kagiso: A 23-year-old man living with schizophrenia (Name has been changed to protect individual’s identity)

Kagiso has always been an outgoing guy who loves music, family and hanging out with friends. He was diagnosed with schizophrenia four years ago after an episode at university when Kagiso began experiencing feelings of paranoia and delusional episodes, in which he began seeing things and hearing voices.

There were days he didn’t even feel like getting dressed or going out. As he arrived at university one day, someone had taken his parking spot which triggered an episode that resulted in an altercation. Police were called and Kagiso was admitted to the psychiatric ward near his home. Kagiso was diagnosed with the initial stages of schizophrenia.

KAGISO’S ROAD TO WELLNESS

The first question from Kagiso and his family was “can his schizophrenia be treated?”

You can imagine the family’s relief when the doctor recommended a monthly injection which alleviates all symptoms of schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia does not mean a person cannot live a quality and fulfilling life.

Medical science has evolved and people just like Kagiso – all over the world – can not only survive but thrive.

What’s also important for people living with schizophrenia and their families is to continue learning about the disorder and healthy lifestyle recommendations to live a happy, quality life.

For information on schizophrenia, please take a look at www.schizophrenia24x7.co.za

— Supplied.

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