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Before now, I believed that anyone who acted strangely was classified as mad. Not until I stumbled on someone who says he has schizophrenia. I was in utter shock, I hadn’t heard about it once.

I learnt that schizophrenia is a disorder that affects a person’s ability to think, feel and behave clearly. It then dawned on me that all those over-excitements about him on some occasions were not ordinary. At another minute, he is acting all violent like he was indeed crazy. I simply concluded he was “a mad man held down by his parents at home because he wasn’t on the street”; that was the most fitting description I could give him.

This pushed my discoveries about schizophrenia. The exact cause isn’t known, but a combination of genetics, the environment and altered brain chemistry and structure may play a role. What broke me the most was the discovery that schizophrenia has no cure. The boy is a cute one, but diseases aren’t for the not so good looking either. He has to manage his symptoms on medications for the rest of his lifetime.

The next morning I woke up so eager to see him so I could get first hand information about his symptoms. Then something strange happened. He couldn’t recall the last thing we talked about, rather he told me about the games he topped at school. I had nothing else to render and so I left with so much zeal to browse on the internet what this disorder was all about. Thoughts or experiences that seem out of touch with reality, disorganized speech or behavior and decreased participation in daily activities were some of the presentations of this disease. Difficulty with concentration and memory, hallucination, hearing voices, depression, fear, persecutory delusion, or religious delusion. Aggression wasn’t left out and it made me understand his expressions.

There are treatments that could help after all. We have:

1) Individual therapy. Psychotherapy may help to normalize thought patterns. Also, learning to cope with stress and identify early warning signs of relapse can help people with schizophrenia manage their illness.

2) Social skills training. This focuses on improving communication and social interactions and improving the ability to participate in daily activities.

3) Family therapy. This provides support and education to families dealing with schizophrenia.

4) Vocational rehabilitation and supported employment. This focuses on helping people with schizophrenia prepare for, find and keep jobs.

We can help people with this condition to live a normal life without using the mad term to address them. It is only but a mental challenge.

Written by Onyinye
Edited by Miss Dada

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