There has been a recent ruling by the Pakistani Supreme Court, that Schizophrenia, one of the most widely known mental disorders, is not a disorder at all. According to statistics, journals, surveys, research, and the DSM (the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), schizophrenia exists. And it (statistically) exists to the point of as many as 51 million (yes, you read that right: 51 million) people in the world suffering from it, at any one point in time.
But this is what the Supreme Court had to say about it:
“In recent years, the prognosis has been improved with drugs, by vigorous psychological and social managements, and rehabilitation (that are conveniently not widely available in the country). It is, therefore, a recoverable disease (it is not, there is a huge difference between improvement and recovery), which in all the cases, does not fall with the definition of ‘mental disorder'”.
Going by that logic, we can easily rule out depression, dyslexia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and Multiple Personality Disorder, as being ‘mental disorders’, too. Let’s just also strike out cancer as a ‘not a disease’ because that too is “recoverable” through “drugs and rehabilitation”.
Schizophrenia affects the way an individual thinks, feels, and behaves.
Some patients feel like they have lost touch with reality. They hear voices that others don’t, they think people around them are out to get them, they don’t make sense when they speak, at times (all while dealing with people calling them pagal, bawla, zehni mareez and what not). And that’s not an easy life to live, without even realizing that your experiences are related to your mental health and there’s something wrong that needs to be dealt with.
Then for someone to claim that what is happening to you isn’t a part of reality, yours or anyone else’s, is soul crushing to say the least. Having seen clients suffering from schizophrenia, having dealt with them, you get to see a whole different dimension of things. And it affects you to the point where you need a minute to calm yourself down. It not only affects the individual suffering, but those around the person, as well.
Schizophrenia can start from any age, no matter how old.
Also, men develop symptoms at an earlier age (one more thing men can do better than women).
Now I’d say that the Supreme Court is delusional, but they wouldn’t believe me (because it doesn’t exist and all, right?). So I’ll just get on with the facts. Because they should be able to appreciate ‘facts’, right? RIGHT?
Schizophrenia might be caused by the following things:
And yeah, I understand, it’s a little hard to believe that something that doesn’t exist has symptoms, causes, medicines, and all this taam jhaam about it, but that’s how it is.
1. Genetic predisposition
Scientists believe that there is a high chance of suffering from the disorder, if an immediate or very close relative has suffered from the disorder, before. However, there are also reports that even if you are genetically predisposed to schizophrenia, but you are not exposed to negative environmental triggers (we discuss in detail in point 3.), then there is a high chance that you might not actually suffer from it. All this comes from the National Center for Biotechnology Information, NCBI.
2. Biological factors
Brain imagery such as (get ready for some really technical terms, apologies in advance) the MRI (temporal lobe reductions, reductions in the right and left amygdala, the left hippocampus and prefrontal white matter,), PET (hypofrontality – less metabolism in the frontal lobes of schizophrenic patients compared to normal brain controls), and CT (the lateral ventricles are enlarged in schizophrenic patients compared with ‘normal’ brains, only subjectively normal, because we’re all a bit cray cray) scans have shown differences in the brains and working of the brains, between those of ‘normal’ people and those suffering from schizophrenia. According to the Ohio State University, Psychology Department, differences in blood flow, grey matter, and levels of activity in certain parts of the brain have provided scientists with significant evidence pointing towards the existence of Schizophrenia.
3. Environmental factors
Studies have shown that individuals with abusive pasts are more likely to present with symptoms of Schizophrenia. Moreover, being victimized, physically and sexually, the loss of loved ones, and dysfunctional families also lead up to the disorder. (PsychCentral, Schizophrenia.com)
4. Chemical imbalances in the brain
According to Mental Health America, the brains of Schizophrenics release high amounts of certain neurotransmitters (namely glutamate, dopamine, and serotonin), altering the levels of activity in the brain, leading to hallucinations, delusions, and the changes in thoughts and behavior.
5. Drug use
The NCBI, from earlier, also says that drugs like marijuana, cannabis, and other hallucinogens have also been known to play a part in individuals being affected by the disorder. Some drugs seem to have a more permanent affect on individuals, than others.
Of course, there can be other factors that may contribute to the occurrence of Schizophrenia, but these are some of the major ones. Then again, it doesn’t really matter, does it? Not like it’s an actual mental disorder.
Cover image via: rebeccaconwayphotography.com