The social aspect of Living with Schizophrenia

The social aspect of Living with Schizophrenia






           Schizophrenia is a phrase used to refer to a chief psychiatric disorder. The term ‘Schizophrenia’ originates from the Greek language and means, “split mind”. It is a severe mental illness, which affects more than two million adult American men and women. This condition is rare in childhood, as in most of the reported cases, it usually begins in the mid to the late teenage years. Individuals suffering from this condition do not necessarily have to exhibit the same characteristics, but their symptoms are influenced by different circumstances (Mental Health America, 2011). This paper is an analysis of the effects of schizophrenia on the social aspects of the people living with the condition.

            Schizophrenia is characterized by an intense disruption of the way an individual thinks, acts and how one views the world. People suffering from Schizophrenia have a different view of reality as compared to normal people. According to (Stein, 2007), they may hear or see things that do not exist, speak in strange and confusing manner, or feel like they are constantly been watched and believe that other people are trying to harm them. With such conditions hidden between the line of reality and imagination, this condition, Schizophrenia makes it is extremely difficult and sometimes frightening to deal with daily activities. As a result, people with Schizophrenia opt to vacate from the external world and sometime act in confusion and fear.

           There is no known cause of Schizophrenia, but according to (Stein, 2007) researchers strongly suggest that this disorder is connected to problems involving the brain structure and chemistry. However, Schizophrenia usually occurs because of complex interaction between environmental and genetic factors. Schizophrenia is hereditable, which means that people with a close relative (parent or siblings) suffering from the condition have a ten percent chance of developing this disorder. Stress during pregnancy or in later life stages of development is also believed to cause Schizophrenia. It occurs, when the body increases the production of cortisol hormone.

            According to a research conducted by Mental Health America (2010), there are greater chances of having mental illness (Schizophrenia) in one’s lifetime in Canada. Statistics show that one in five at any particular time suffers from this disorder. The percentage of Canadians, who have mental illness is 10.4%, while the percentages of adolescents (aged 15-24 years), who have mental illness due to substance abuse is 18%.  The report shows that 1% of Canadians experience Schizophrenia in their lifetime.

            Living with mental disorder means existing in the society with all it social, cultural, political and economic factors (National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health, 2010). People living with a condition such as Schizophrenia need strong social support to enhance a good environment that can support their recovery. However, parents feel culpable and angry if they have a child suffering this disorder (schizophrenia). They become anxious and result to the condition (illness) to build up.

Reactions of patients towards schizophrenia

            Social difficulties are one of the principal problems facing people diagnosed with schizophrenia. Negative symptoms can lead to one collecting social cues challenging, which can further complicate because of competing with the positive symptoms (NIMH, 2012). This makes conversations extremely difficult and sometimes impossible especially to people, who are not aware of schizophrenia. Some people believe that they are isolated since they are sentient that others do not share their hallucinations and delusions.

            Many people find it unusual to develop such a condition in the later stages of life. When diagnosed with schizophrenia, they go completely insane or lose their memory, as it causes acute anxiety making them to live in acute, dreadful and chronic fear.  Patients are frightened of their   hallucinations and delusions. They also believe that people are violating their lives, or are being recorded and monitored or being followed (Mental Health America, 2010). Schizophrenia patients do not have the ability to trust the inner self, they are not comfortable with sharing their experiences, which leads to acute stress.

            Schizophrenia patients have an extremely high chance of committing suicide. A report by Mental Health America (2010) reviews that, about ten percent to thirteen percent of people suffering this condition kill themselves. About forty percent have attempted suicide at least once. Therefore, it is advisable to take any suicidal talks and threats seriously. The report also showed that people suffering with schizophrenia are likely to commit suicide, when they are depressed and six months after starting their treatment.

Family’s perception on patients suffering schizophrenia

            Suffering from schizophrenia can make several situations difficult. These include keeping a job, maintaining relationships and giving personal care. Relationships face a substantial setback this is because patients with schizophrenia have a tendency of withdrawing and isolating themselves. Paranoia can also lead to an individual suffering this condition to have the suspicion among his friends and family members. This weight of the difficulties can also face close relatives, who care for a person suffering with schizophrenia. Some people feel embarrassed to have other family members visit an individual suffering from this condition since he or she can behave abnormally depending on the condition and the situation.

Schizophrenia and the society

            There are preconceptions around the issue of psychological infirmity. According to a study conducted by Schizophrenia Facts and Statistics (2009), more than ninety-six percent of individuals living with schizophrenia experience discrimination. Many ordinary people expect negative things of them (people suffering from schizophrenia) or nothing at all, when they consider their illness. Injustice can come from the external and the inside of an individual. For instance, many people suffering from such conditions have depressing experiences with potential employers rejecting their job application. They can also have a setback, caused by anxiety about possible transactions.

            Majority of people diagnosed with schizophrenia frequently act out on their delusions, and their feeling of paranoia. As a result, they find it difficult to be employed or if they get a job, it is difficult for them to maintain employment. A research conducted by Schizophrenia Facts and Statistics (2009) reviewed that close to seventy percent of people living with schizophrenia engages in the competitive employment. However, less than fifteen percent are employed, which causes financial stress among the families caring for them, since they have to pay for medication, therapy and other necessities.


            Schizophrenia is a mental illness that causes difficulties to people suffering from the condition, as well as the families caring from them. Patients with schizophrenia often have problems relating to or socializing with others. This illness does not have a cure; however, with available medication and therapy, it is possible to manage the condition. Proper care and support from families help improve their situation; they should seek for support and counseling. This usually has an impact to the families emotionally, financially and socially helps them to support each other, maintain a positive outlook towards Schizophrenia


Mental Health America: Schizophrenia. (2011, August 13). Mental Health America: Welcome. Retrieved November 27, 2012, from

National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health (2010). Schizophrenia: Core interventions in the treatment and management of schizophrenia in adults in primary and secondary care. London: British Psychological Society.

NIMH · Schizophrenia. (n.d.). NIMH · Home. Retrieved November 29, 2012, from

Schizophrenia Facts and Statistics. (2009, August 13). Retrieved November 29, 2012, from

Stein, G., Wilkinson, G., & Royal College of Psychiatrists. (2007). Seminars in general adult psychiatry (2nd Ed.). London: Gaskell.



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