Schizophrenia - fighting the battle within

By: Stephanie F.
St. Stephen High School
St. Stephen, New Brunswick

Kurt was an intelligent young man with high aspirations. He had been the captain of numerous high school athletic teams and was at the top of many others. He was actively involved in his high school and this involvement carried on throughout his university career.

Then, suddenly, he began changing. Things that he had always loved, he no longer cared for. He said that there were voices in his head that were fighting with each other. He later became diagnosed with schizophrenia.


Schizophrenia is a terribly disabling disease of the brain. It causes mental distress and also emotional distress. This disease has been misunderstood by medical personnel for many years as little has been understood by the general population. This disease causes you to be unable to think clearly, control your emotions or think rationally. There are many abnormalities that go with this disease which are: delusions and hallucinations, changes of the senses, being unable to respond appropriately and changes in emotions, movements and behaviour.

One of the major misunderstandings of this disease is that it is a split personality, when in fact split personalities are something very rare and very different from schizophrenia. Another misconception is that it is caused by bad parenting or by a weakness in the person. Schizophrenia
is a disease that has a biological basis, which affects approximately one percent of the population.

There are numerous symptoms. Positive symptoms, as they are called, are normally related with this disease. These include thought disorder, delusions and hallucinations. Thought disorder is usually attributed to the disconnection of language. This makes the person unable to participate in a conversation, which usually causes distancing between family, friends and ultimately, the entire society. Thought disorder causes a person to be unable to think logically or rationally.

Delusions are one of the most common symptoms among sufferers. This includes paranoid
delusions in which a person may believe that they are being conspired against. Hallucinations most often take the form of voices, which can be heard only by the person suffering from the disease.

While schizophrenia is not a curable disease, it is a very treatable disease. In many cases, hospitalization is necessary. This ensures the person's safety and also allows time for the analysis of the person so that doctors can be sure that schizophrenia is the proper diagnosis. Neuroleptics, which is an anti-psychotic drug, can drastically improve the living capabilities of a person with schizophrenia. Hospitalization is not usually necessary once the majority of the symptoms have been contained. Many people are involved in counselling and various types of therapy to help them adjust to everyday life.

Schizophrenia is a disease that can disable people for a short time but is with them for the rest of their life. Once treated, they are capable to work just like any other person. Society needs to see these people as people, and not treat them as though they were incurable.