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Thursday, March 16, 2017

HEALTH | On Schizophrenia and Psychosis

Have you ever met someone who sort of hears voices which other people do not hear? Or someone who sees things that we don't usually see? These are called hallucinations and may point to a mental disorder. Essentially, a lot of them fail to understand what is real and display social behaviors that sometimes other people don't understand.

Sila yung mga nakakarinig o nakakita ng mga bagay na hindi nakikita ng iba. Sila din yung minsan ay may mga paniniwala na mahirap maiwasto gaya ng paniniwala na may laging nakaabang sa kanila o di kaya'y sila ang pinakamakapangyarihang tao sa mundo.

Image Courtesy: DailyStar.co.uk

A while back, our lecturer taught us about schizophrenia being one of the psychotic disorders that some Filipinos have to deal with on a day-to-day basis. One regional survey even found a prevalence of at least 4% in that area; that's relatively high versus the 1% prevalence worldwide. If we come to think of it though, 1% of the Philippine population translates to around 1 million battling schizophrenia. 

And that's just not it; others suffer from other mental disorders too including anxiety disorder, major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder and substance-related disorders.

So, ano nga ba ang psychosis which we see in schizophrenics?

Psychosis is the impairment of specific domains including emotion, perception, and motor function. That's why a lot of psychotic patients tend to be less emotionally stable, perceive things we don't see or hear, and sometimes turn violent and exhibit disorganized behavior.

Note, however, that they did not want this. We need to help them. Kailangan nila suporta natin. Hence, early diagnosis while still young is a must para hindi pa lumala ang kondisyon.

Usually, a parent may seek a psychiatrist's help for his/her child if:
  • for young school boys - tend to be lonely, anxious or have discipline problems (palaaway, may imaginary friend, etc)
  • for young school girls - tend to be withdrawn socially and isolated

The first psychotic episode is the most critical, since aggressive treatment needs to be done to prevent further decline in the individual's capacity for functioning (or productivity) in society. It's also important that families of those with schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders always ensure their adherence to medications because almost all patients relapse if their medications are discontinued during treatment period. 

We also do not want relapses to happen because the more relapses they get, the lower their level of functioning they'd end up with. As much as possible, gusto natin na magawa pa nila mga bagay na nagagawa ng madaming tao tulad ng pagliligo, pag-aalaga sa sarili, pagtratrabaho at kung anu-ano pa.

The Department of Health (DOH) has included mental health issues under the spectrum of neurodegenerative diseases. However, I think that it needs to be given more emphasis and placed in a separate category. This group of disorders needs to be allocated more budget since individuals who face these types of disorders tend to end up having difficulties living their life.

Always remember that everyone needs love and care. Hindi lang yung mga mayayaman. Hindi lang yung mga matatalino. Hindi lang yung mga may kakayahang makaintindi at makaalam kung alin ang totoo sa hindi.

So, let's stop the stigma and guide them (and their families) so that they'd be able to fit in this world too without having to worry about being judged or discriminated.