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Saving schizophrenics: Behaviour of society crucial in treating mental disorders

 Across the world and in India, one out of every 60 persons is diagnosed with schizophrenia, while 10-12 per cent of people suffer from some form of common mental disorder. 

pune Updated: Dec 26, 2017 16:33 IST
Jui Dharwadkar
Jui Dharwadkar
Hindustan Times, Pune
schizophrenia,mental disorder,society
According to doctors, one of the normal symptoms associated with any mental illness is a change in the daily routine with signs of withdrawal from the surroundings.(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Stigma associated with mental illnesses like schizophrenia psychosis or bipolar disorder is one of the major reasons for lowering self-confidence and self-esteem in people suffering from these illnesses.

To address this issue, increased awareness among the general population and more acceptance of patients suffering from any form of mental illness has become the need of the hour.

Across the world and in India, one out of every 60 persons is diagnosed with schizophrenia, while 10-12 per cent of people suffer from some form of common mental disorder. Yet the stigma associated with these diseases is till firmly in place. This results in patients suffering even more and withdrawing themselves from society at large.

Speaking to HT, clinical psychologist Sarika Chandhak says, "There is still a lot of stigma associated with people suffering from severe mental illnesses. If a person is diagnosed with schizophrenia, then most of the times the family tries to hide the person from the society. The patients are then not taken out for family functions or are kept behind closed doors when there are guests visiting. This affects the patients negatively."

Chandhak added that due to this, patients who are already showing withdrawal symptoms try and withdraw more and more from society. “This affects their self-confidence and self-esteem negatively," she says.

Clinical psychologist Kadambari Kulkarni too shares similar views.

“Awareness among the general population about mental illnesses and symptoms associated with these diseases can help create more acceptance for patients in society. People should understand that negative remarks or rejection shown towards patients with mental illnesses affects them negatively and so should be avoided," she adds.

Psychologists have said that early diagnosis and early treatment is very important for patients suffering from mental illnesses. The right medication at an early stage can help these patients lead close to normal lives and take care of themselves.

According to doctors, one of the normal symptoms associated with any mental illness is a change in the daily routine with signs of withdrawal from the surroundings. Many patients also suffer from hallucinations and delusions, in the case of schizophrenia.

“Usually, symptoms are seen in patients between the ages of 18 and 25 years, or even earlier. If a person shows any such symptoms, then she or he should be immediately diagnosed and the right medication should be started which can prevent the mental disease from becoming chronic,” says Sarika Chandhak.

First Published: Dec 26, 2017 16:33 IST