Large number of schizophrenics report happiness

accreditation
Elderly man looking crazy from Shutterstock
Elderly man looking crazy from Shutterstock
PathDoc

Even though schizophrenia is one of the most severe forms of mental illness, nearly 40 percent of people with the disorder say they're happy, new research contends.

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, surveyed 72 schizophrenia patients, ranging in age from 23 to 70, living in the San Diego area, and found that 37 percent said they were happy all or most of the time.

Their happiness wasn't related to the length or severity of their mental illness, to their mental or physical status, or to factors such as age and education. Instead, their happiness was associated with positive mental and social characteristics such as optimism, resilience and lower stress levels, the researchers said.

Read: What is my optimal stress level?

The findings are valuable because these positive traits can be taught to many people, said the authors of the study, which was published online in the journal Schizophrenia Research.

Is happiness possible for schizophrenia patients?


"People tend to think that happiness in schizophrenia is an oxymoron," senior author Dr. Dilip Jeste, a professor of psychiatry and neurosciences, said in a university news release.

"Without discounting the suffering this disease inflicts on people, our study shows that happiness is an attainable goal for at least some schizophrenia patients. This means we can help make these individuals' lives happier," Jeste added.

By way of comparison, about 83 percent of people without schizophrenia said they were happy most or all of the time. And none of the people without schizophrenia said they were never or rarely happy, compared with about 15 percent of those with the mental disorder.

"People with schizophrenia are clearly less happy than those in the general population at large, but this is not surprising," study lead author Barton Palmer, a professor in the university's department of psychiatry, said in the news release.

Read: 
Links between schizophrenia and cannabis use

"What is impressive is that almost 40 percent of these patients are reporting happiness and that their happiness is associated with positive psychosocial attributes that can be potentially enhanced," Palmer added.

The study was funded, in part, by the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

According to the NIMH, schizophrenia is a chronic, severe and disabling brain disorder. People with the disorder may hear voices other people don't hear, they may believe other people are reading their minds, controlling their thoughts or plotting to harm them. This can make them withdrawn or extremely agitated.

Read more:

Epilepsy linked to schizophrenia
Alternative to antipsychotics for schizophrenics
Schizophrenics have genetic mutations in brain

Image: Elderly man looking crazy from Shutterstock

See breaking news and the hottest health tips before anybody else by joining South Africa’s biggest and best health community, like health24 on Facebook now!

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
A Section 89 panel headed by former chief justice Sandile Ngcobo found President Cyril Ramaphosa has an impeachable case to answer on the Phala Phala scandal.
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Ramaphosa should do the honourable thing and immediately resign.
24% - 993 votes
Ramaphosa should follow due process and submit himself to an impeachment hearing.
30% - 1222 votes
Ramaphosa should fight the findings in court and keep his job at all costs
46% - 1869 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
17.56
-0.0%
Rand - Pound
21.59
-0.4%
Rand - Euro
18.50
-0.3%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.93
-0.3%
Rand - Yen
0.13
-0.2%
Gold
1,797.91
0.0%
Silver
23.15
0.0%
Palladium
1,900.00
0.0%
Platinum
1,020.00
0.0%
Brent Crude
85.57
-1.5%
Top 40
68,238
-0.9%
All Share
74,323
-0.9%
Resource 10
74,020
-2.7%
Industrial 25
91,592
-0.6%
Financial 15
15,398
+0.8%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE