Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I've been meaning to post about this great article I read a few weeks ago. The article was written by a young man with schizophrenia. His insightful point of view sheds light on the reality behind mental illness and stigma. I was saddened and shocked by the statistics. Here is what he had to say: "

Schizophrenia Has Become the Elephant in the Room for the Modern Medical Community

"Having lived as a diagnosed schizophrenic since the summer of 2001 (technically having been bearing the actual affliction since birth), I feel that my position provides me with a unique perspective on a widely-misunderstood disease that many view only through the disinterested disdain of the media: the raving lunatic on the streets, shouting at passer-bys, the "problem child" (the one in the institution) nobody in the family talks about in polite company, Anthony Hopkins tearing off a cop's face (in a movie, I hope). In fact, among the general population of those afflicted, less than 1% exhibit violence related to the disease, and fewer than 10% require institutionalization at any point during their lives. But what is schizophrenia really, if not the stylized madness portrayed in popular film and television? Schizophrenia is not so much a 'disease,' really, as a 'syndrome,' in that it is an aggregate of lesser, separately-diagnosable mental conditions." Read the rest of the article here...

As always, I look forward to your comments :)


  1. Hi AC,

    My medication is not "fractionally effective, as the writer claims. I have virtually no symptoms, no side effects, and am doing much better than I was on the old medication.

    Unfortunately, not everyone gets this kind of miraculous relief from their meds, if at all any relief.

    I refuse to donate money to those socially-acceptable causes, by the way.

    The continued stigmatization of people with SZ prevents any kind of cure. When we are made to be responsible for having our disease, there's no incentive for the public to fund research and development of new meds.

    It goes without saying that something's gotta change.


  2. The writer's point of view is well taken particularily when comparing sz in terms of numbers of those diagnosed with other diseases. Additionally, there is the misconception that SZ is not life threatening to the affliceted and considered a social ailment; therefore, it moves further down the priority funding chain. And unfortunately, information about Sz is distributed when some kind of violence occurs, and it is reported in the media, or an oddity happens like the recent speculation about Joaquin Pheonix. The negative sensationalism seems to diminish and take precedence over the urgency of medical research. One way to possibly counteract this might be to take the economic approach which seems to work in other areas when the American wallet is concerned. If a cure or preventation for Sz is discovered, determine the ecomonic impact it would have on the budget for NIH and the Health and Human Services. Then people might start to consider that a cure is prudent and the best avenue. This is a non humanistic approach, and I would feel better knowing that people sincerely care for one another and concern would be impetous enough, but I know it's not. When educational programs are designed, adding the statistical information he gave with the financial impact of hospitalizing and medicating, and how with a cure millions,perhaps billions, of dollars would be saved.

  3. Hi AC,

    Thanks for posting this article. I can't read it all at the moment, but I will when I get a chance. Also, thanks for continuing to enlighten and educate people about this illness with your blog. I have linked yours on my blog as well so hopefully more people will find your work and your wonderful art.

    Take care,


  4. Thank you all for your comments:

    Chris: I don't blame you for abstaining from donating to those charities. If mental illness is not viewed as equal to other illnesses, then there is something seriously wrong, like you said. In addition, my mother just found out that the state hospital where my brother is currently receiving treatment (long term) is set to demolish one of the four buildings because the state has cut funding. Priceless. She tells me they will just shuffle all the long term patients to a different hospital. So sad.

    a211423: I hope you don't mind, but I would like to include your idea in my slideshow/documentary. I think it is useful information for the public to absorb. I also may have you view it for grammer problems:) I intended to incorporate statistics and facts but it would be helpful for others to understand the monetary impact mental illness has on all of us. If we started to fund research (more than we currently do), then we could reduce the amount of money that needs to go towards disability, etc...Anyway, great point and feel free to send any ideas my way. I am constantly coming up with more ways to get the word out there.

    Jen: Thank you for your continued support. I will keep you posted on what I have in the works. Writing this blog and trying to stamp out stigma is so fulfilling, it is the least I can do.

  5. Amber
    Please use anything I write for your presenations. I am honored you ask.

    Also, one thing I left out about having a population of 2 million cured individuals. They will be productive people in our society with jobs paying taxes, and maybe there is a great scientist out there waiting to make some wonderful discoveries, or teachers who will make the world a better place for our children.