Thursday, August 15, 2013

Schizophrenia, It could happen to you or to your child, repost from 09/12


I was an associate director of mental health for a urban ministry in Grand Rapids, MI.
Some of the most difficult clients were the ones who suffered from schizophrenia. There are many misconceptions about schizophrenia. One which has continued to be promoted for years is that schizophrenia is a spilt personality syndrome. This is not true at all.  It is a complex mental illness and one of the most difficult to treat.

I had the privilege to go with founder and director, Don Tack of Servant's Center (he was my Bible teacher at the Grand Rapids School of Bible and Music),  out under bridges and various places away those with serious mental illnesses congregate. It is away from the hustle and bustle of the city. One such place was known as the Village of the Damned.    Its location was in the woods which provided plenty of fire wood for those who needed  to keep warm. Michigan winters can get down to twenty degrees below zero (Fahrenheit)   Those who gathered and lived there were some of the most severe cases,  of schizophrenia which I had ever seen. These people won't come into the city of  for housing our treatment. Our job was to go out and befriend them and help them in any way we could. We tried to forge a bond with them and then bring them to a Community Mental Health Center which would offer them psychiatric treatment. We were able to get more than a few help but it took along time.

The United States had a not to difficult task in getting  them out of the state hospitals but we have had a terrible time of getting them into treatment and find housing etc. I would ask those who don't believe that mental illness is a biological disease   to talk to a person who has schizophrenia, who is floridly psychotic, having loss touch with reality. These poor people were deinstitutionalized in the late 1950's and 1960's (in the United States) but they have few places to go. I know for a fact that in Michigan the state prison officials would drop off the mentally ill on the county line rather than actively provide linkage to mental health services.
Many of our readers are from other countries all over the world. Please feel free to comment below and tell us what your country does or doesn't do with schizophrenics. . Please pray for those who have this dreaded disease and pray for their families.
What are the symptoms of schizophrenia? The symptoms of schizophrenia fall into three broad categories:
1. Positive symptoms are unusual thoughts or perceptions, including hallucinations , delusions, , and disorders of movement. An example of a delusion is depicted in the above picture one that people are stalking you.

2. Negative symptoms represent a loss or a decrease in the ability to initiate plans, speak, express emotion, or find pleasure in everyday life. These symptoms are harder to recognize as part of the disorder and can be mistaken for laziness or depression.

3. Cognitive symptoms (or cognitive deficits) are problems with attention, certain types of memory, and the executive functions that allow us to plan and organize.
Cognitive deficits can also be difficult to recognize as part of the disorder but are the most disabling in terms of leading a normal life.

For more on line go to:

For more about Robyn's and Steve's book, Broken Minds Hope for Healing When You Feel Like You're Losing It, Kregel Publication.

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