Throughout one's life, an individual may struggle to find harmony between perception and reality. For most people, how they perceive an event or situation is closely in line with reality and merely colored by one's own insecurities or personal experiences. However, for an individual living with schizophrenia, the lines between perception and reality are very blurry and, in some cases, nonexistent.
Schizophrenia is categorized as a mental disorder and affects approximately one percent of the population. Individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia often exhibit symptoms classified as being psychotic in nature and include hallucinations, trouble focusing, delusions and movement disorders. Additionally, in an effort to self medicate, schizophrenic individuals often develop substance abuse problems which exacerbates symptoms.
Scientists do not know what causes some individuals to develop schizophrenia, but both a genetic predisposition and environmental factors are believed to play a role. The symptoms associated with the disorder are highly disruptive to an individual's life and interfere with personal relationships and professional aspirations. These disruptive symptoms are readily treated through a combination of medication and psychosocial treatments.
Once an individual has started on medication and their symptoms are under control, education related to their illness is key to improving a positive long-term prognosis. Once an individual learns about schizophrenia, he or she is more likely to continue taking anti-psychotic medications and partake in counseling and other recommended treatment options.
Despite advancements in the treatment of schizophrenia, there is not cure for the mood disorder and those afflicted often struggle with negative symptoms their entire lives. These individuals often have difficulty working, learning and maintaining relationships.
Schizophrenia is included in the Social Security Administration's list of disability impairments. As such, individuals diagnosed with the disorder may apply for and qualify to receive Social Security disability benefits. Monthly income provided via SSD benefits provides those impacted by this devastating disorder much-needed income thereby allowing sufferers to focus on their health and recovery.
Source: National Institute of Mental Health, "Schizophrenia," 2014