The most misunderstood mental illness: Schizophrenia


Human brain is the most mysterious and complex one to understand, where things to go wrong is very common. About 20% of people have some type of mental disorder and among all of mental disorders schizophrenia is chronic, severe and deteriorating one.  In 1911, the Swiss psychiatrist, Eugen Bleuler, coined the term, “schizophrenia” which translates into “split mind” in Greek. This considerable impact is not only on patients’ health, but also on their surrounding environment. People who have it may hear voices that aren’t there, may think other people are trying to hurt them. Sometimes they don’t make sense when they talk. The disorder makes it hard for them to keep a job or take care of themselves. For some people these experiences or beliefs can start happening quite suddenly, but for others they can occur more gradually. One may become upset, anxious, confused and suspicious of other people. A large number of people worldwide suffer from schizophrenia which is as many as 51 million people worldwide suffer from schizophrenia. 10% of people have a close family member that has it like a parent or sibling. In men, symptoms usually start in the early to mid 20s in women symptoms usually start in the late 20s

Today schizophrenia are key public health issues. It continues to be one of the leading mental disorders in our country, Being a developing country Bangladesh and its prevalence of psychiatric illness is not less than that of any other country in the world , with around 35% of the admitted patients at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) suffering from this illness, according to the health bulletin. Although there is no recent survey data that estimated the current number of people suffering from schizophrenia but by the bulletin of the health directorate showed that 2,140 patients were admitted to the NIMH last year; more than 35% of them had schizophrenia. The percentage had been similar in recent years which is  35.53% in 2009, 37.58% in 2010, 43.47% in 2011 and 38.1% in 2012

Schizophrenia is characterized by distortions in thinking, perception, emotions, language, sense of self and behavior. Hearing voices, delusions, Stigma, discrimination and violation of human rights of people with schizophrenia is common. People with schizophrenia are 2-2.5 times more likely to die early than the general population. This is often due to physical illnesses, such as cardiovascular, metabolic and infectious diseases.

Research has not identified any one single factor behind this disease. It is thought that an interaction between genes and a range of environmental factors may cause schizophrenia. Psychosocial factors may also contribute to schizophrenia.

Now on this era, medications work successfully to control symptoms in the majority of patients. Mostly anti-psychotic drugs of second generation have shown more success with some patient population in treating negative and cognitive symptoms. It is also believed that mental health education for the family members of these patients is useful and effective. But more than 50% of people with schizophrenia are not receiving appropriate care. Lack of access to mental health services is an important issue. Furthermore people with schizophrenia are less likely to seek care and also being expensive majority of people lack access to treatment. There is clear evidence that old-style mental hospitals are not effective in providing the treatment that people with mental disorders need and violate basic human rights of persons with mental disorders. So efforts to transfer care from mental health institutions to the community need to be expanded and accelerated.

Schizophrenia seems to be the manifestation of the human spirit yearning to return to that which is came from. The way western – and many other parts of the world – societies are, it’s not in the least bit surprising that we develop these fantastical, seemingly ‘unreal’ perception. But we need to create awareness; we have to fight to protect our dear ones and ourselves. People will understand the disease only when they will properly know about it. Most often people suffers a lot loose connections for their behavior and gets misunderstood without knowing the reasons but don’t let this continue, lets know this disease so that we can detect it and 24th of May is the schizophrenia awareness day which should be conducted massively creating big events in our country like others which will collaborative venture to raise awareness of schizophrenia and psychosis.

Farhana Farin is an undergrad student of East West University. She can be reached at

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  1. Mighty useful. Make no mistake, I aprtceiape it.

  2. At last! Someone with real expretise gives us the answer. Thanks!

  3. Thank you so much sir keep me in your prayers so that I can gradually improve myself. ^_^

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