Tag Archives: schizophrenia

Importance of Mental Health

mental health

Mental health consists of our emotional, psychological, and socio-economic well-being. Our thoughts, feelings, and actions are affected by it. It determines how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices.

The importance of Mental health is visible at every stage of life, starting from childhood to adolescence and right through adulthood.

There are indicators that measure living conditions like housing and employment but they fail to measure what people think and feel about their lives and the quality of their relationships.

How people view their emotions and rate their resilience, whether they are being able to realize their potential, or what is their overall satisfaction with life – i.e., their “well-being.”

Well-being, in general, includes judgments of life satisfaction and feelings ranging from depression to joy. Mental health problems can alter the thinking, mood, behavior and the overall well-being of people over the span of their lives.

Factors contributing to mental health problems include:

– Genetic / Hereditary factors, such as brain chemistry and genes.

– Experiences in life, such as trauma or abuse.

– Family history of mental health problems.

– Alcohol / Drug dependency.

Positive mental health allows people to:

– Realize their full potential.

– Cope with the stresses of life.

– Work productively.

– Make meaningful contributions to their communities.

Ways to maintain positive mental health include:

– Getting professional help if needed.

– Connecting with others.

– Staying positive.

– Getting physically active.

– Helping others.

– Getting enough sleep.

– Developing coping skills.

Points to be noted: 

  • Mental Health does not mean the absence of disease alone; it is in essence a valuable resource which allows people to realize aspirations, satisfy needs and at the same time be able to cope with the environment in order to live a long, happy, productive, and fruitful life.
  • Mental health enables socio-economic and personal development which is fundamental to mental well-being.
  • Mental Health promotion consists of the process of enabling people to exercise increased control over their lives and improve their overall health.
  • Environmental and social resources of mental health often include: peaceful environment, safe housing, economic security and a stable ecosystem.
  • Individual resources for mental health can include: physical activity, healthful diet, social ties, resiliency, positive emotions, and autonomy.
  • Mental Health promotion activities are aimed at strengthening such individual, environmental and social resources that may ultimately improve overall well-being.
  • There can be devastating consequences of long-term Mental Illness on the human body and spirit. An inability to deal with daily life pressures can lead to issues with our job, relationships, and our overall health. Whether we realize it or not, our mental capacity to deal with life can negatively impact others as well.

Seven Components of Mental Health

1. In-person therapy

  • Few of us are completely equipped with the tools needed for good mental health in daily living; we often need support to better understand our life experiences in order to see patterns and emotions that need further evaluation.
  • There is a higher need for in person therapy in 2021, now more than ever before. In general, we humans feel a need to decompress from the pressures and stresses of life as we learn new techniques for self-care and regulation that can improve our quality of life.

2. Community

  • Treating mental illness in 2021 may look different from years past, but that is no excuse to isolate ourselves and wallow in our own unique set of issues. Building a solid community of support, love, and friendships around us will be an essential part of our wellness journey.
  • We must surround ourselves with like-minded people; those who wish to become healthier and happier, and be uplifted by good conversations, in-person meetings, virtual care services and similar exchanges with their support circle. In doing so, one will realize that this journey is not a solo trip, and that they have people around them to improve the quality of their life.

 3. Physical health

  • The body and the brain are intimately interconnected, hence the saying ‘In a healthy body is a healthy mind’. Our body is an intricate network of systems, all working together to help us navigate life successfully, and we have a responsibility to take care of it.
  • Eating well, getting adequate exercise, sleep, and hydration are valuable actions we can take to preserve our physical well-being, which in turn will help us feel more positive about life in general.

 4. Intellectual health

Committing to being a lifelong learner and exercising one’s mind regularly is a valuable part of one’s mental health process. Like all aspects of mental health, intellectual health requires balance, learning of new skills and acquiring new knowledge that will open doors of opportunities, improving one’s life significantly.

5. Environmental health

  • The environment can significantly impact a person’s mental state of mind; being subjected to daily stressors and less than ideal living conditions can negatively impact our mental health and cause mental illness.
  • We must do what we can to remove those aspects from our lives that are stressing us out – relationships, living conditions, social situations, physical health issues – will help reduce the stress response in our brain that causes poor cognitive function.

6. Boundaries

  • It is next to impossible to fulfill all of life’s obligations and to take care of oneself as well; learning to set boundaries and saying “no” to things that are not essential will allow us to take out time for prioritizing our mental health.
  • Initially, one might feel guilty if they haven’t said no to friends and family before, but the more we stand up for ourselves and take back our time, the easier it becomes to practice daily habits that preserve our mental health.

7. Self-Care

  • The gifts of the last few years include more time for many, people are learning the fine art of self-care from the comfort of their homes, this leaves one with no choice but to take an introspective look at what they need most.
  • Doing those things that nurture body, soul, and spirit will improve not only our lives, but the lives of those around us as well.
Conclusion

Our Mental Health and Wellbeing is in our own hands, we must take the necessary steps to ensure that it is in a good condition so as to help us achieve our basic aim of living a happy, productive and satisfying life.

Ajitinder Sandhu

Patient assaults among staff members of Mental Health Hospitals

drug rehabilitation in delhi

Patients physically assaulting the staff at mental hospitals where they are admit, which results in minor/ severe injuries or even deaths is alarmingly prevalent in the current scenario, especially in IPD settings (such as in mental hospitals).

Paramedical staffs, psychiatrists, psychologists and counselors face manifold types of antagonism, violence, and beating at work, collectively referred to as workplace violence, which usually is sparked off by patients. Whether workplace violence negatively affects staff well-being may be related not only to its presence, but also to a person’s pressure reactivity. The creation of a healing environment is a vital goal for psychiatric inpatient settings. Interpersonal hostility in the form of discord, antagonism, violence, and assault are common occurrences in mental hospital wards, and impair the development of a treatment-conducive environment. These also create hardships for staff well-being, detracting them from patient care.

Several studies have documented that psychiatric staff are at high risk of workplace violence, including physical assault and verbal aggression by patients, visitors, supervisors, and coworkers

Staff members are likely to appraise conflict with patients in a different way when compared to appraisal of conflicts with coworkers and supervisors, bearing in mind that it is a part of a patient’s pathology.

An international review of violence toward nurses establishes that 55% of nurses in psychiatric and mental hospital settings experienced physical assault and that psychiatric settings had a higher rate of violence than any other health care setting. It is generally accepted that these assault records’ data are underestimates, because many staff may under-report harassment or assault due to fear of being perceived as less competent or being blamed, peer pressure not to report assault based on the gender of the person assaulted, or a lack of desire to deal with excessive paperwork or even of the threat of being fired from the job. According to recent studies, staff who are assaulted tend to be young (less than 30 years old), less experienced, less educated, spend more time with patients and are less qualified.

Direct care staff can feel beleaguered, vulnerable, disturbed, and shamed by assault and spoken hostility in their respective mental hospital units. The most commonly reported poignant consequences of assault and verbal aggression are fright, annoyance, rage, dread, disquiet, stress, and irritability. Similar to persons who have experienced traumatic events in the past, psychiatric unit staff who have been assaulted by patients are at increased risk of developing PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) and major depression.

Job performance can also be adversely affected by feelings of insecurity; staff members who feel unsafe at work may engage in behaviors that impair curative bonding with patients: such as avoidance, passivity, and inconsistent or harsh enforcement of ward rules.

Mental hospitals suffer as organizations when staff safety is jeopardized. The incidence of episodes of violence in mental hospitals has direct costs for medical care, litigation, worker’s compensation benefits, paid leave, and substitute staffing. Additionally, there are indirect costs related to low self-esteem, employment and retention difficulties, service disruption, compromised public relations, impaired job performance, and the development of a negative therapeutic environment.

KEEP CALM AND TREAT SCHIZOPHRENIA: #RECOVERY

schizophrenia treatment in delhiSo in the last article we came to know that Schizophrenia is treatable and the best option would be admitting the patient in Psychiatric Hospital where they can be rehabilitated. Rehabilitation is “a set of measures that assist individuals who experience, or are likely to experience disability, to achieve and maintain optimal functioning in interaction with their environment” (World Health Organisation, 2011)

There has been stigma around Schizophrenia since decades because it was misperceived as a degenerative and disabling disease. The Psycho-Social rehabilitation has been proved to be successful with the Schizophrenia patient in achieving ‘recovery’.

Recovery is a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self- directed life, and strive to reach their full potential. (SAMHSA)

Goals of rehabilitation-

The functions of Psychiatric hospital are to enable with the best practices of Schizophrenia management and psychosocial functioning. Below are the principles on which Psychiatric Hospital thrives-

  1. Enabling the patient with Schizophrenia to live a normal life in the community. The goal is to bring focus away from the disease model towards a functional model.
  2. Re-instigating the interest of individuals again in social activities like meeting people, friends, and relatives. Going for outings and participating activities which bring pleasure.
  3. Restructuring the environment of home to suit the needs of the individual.
  4. Reducing the burden of the family by improving the quality of life for both patient and caregiver.

Types of best evidence-based treatment provided for patients of Schizophrenia in a Psychiatric Hospital-

  1. Individual-Centered Strategy- It aims in developing the patient’s skill in interacting with a stressful event and patient learns a vocation which will suit their current capabilities and help them to become independent.
  2. Ecological Strategy- It is directed towards developing the environmental resources to reduce stressors. It focuses on psycho-educating the family about the illness. It also focuses on expanding and reaching out to the support group networks which also facilitates recovery among the peer by self-help groups.
  3. Pharmacological Treatment- Anti-psychotic is the primary step in the treatment of Schizophrenia, because psychosis can be disturbing for the patient, these medicines are to reduce the acute symptoms in which the patient can harm self or others.
  4. Behaviour Therapy- Since the patient has learnt maladaptive behavior during the course of illness, behavior therapy aims to change it.
  5. Cognitive Rehabilitation- Engaging the person in such activities which involves their cognitive abilities like memory, decision making and problem solving.
  6. Vocational Rehabilitation- The major role in this is to identify the skills which are still present in the present in the patient. This therapy later can help individual to earn money himself/herself and become independent.

The aim of Psychiatric Hospital is totally different than of acute care hospitals because it attempts to provide social support to the patients in a way to make them a part of the society again.

 

SCHIZOPHRENIA: TREATABLE OR CURABLE?

schizophrenia treatment in delhi

Is Schizophrenia Treatable?

Schizophrenia is a serious and disabling mental disorder where the person loses touch with reality. Schizophrenia begins early in life, which causes significant and long-lasting impairments. For many years, when there was no treatment, it was seen as a degenerative disease, it was incurable and without any hope of recovery. The ultimate cause for it is genetics and environmental triggers.

Schizophrenia was described as having a long term deteriorating course and the clinical symptoms of hallucinations and delusions. Earlier, the only treatment of Schizophrenia was to dump the patient in Mental Asylums and treated cruelly. In 50s and 60s, anti-psychotic medications were introduced and it was a tremendous help in controlling psychosis. However, the comorbid disorders such as personality disorder and substance use disorder can make the prognosis poor. Nowadays, there are many researches going on stem cell treatment as well as targeted drugs for schizophrenia, clinical trials are also going on to find out new ways to prevent and detect this illness, which will be a significant step in the treatment.

According to WHO, there are 21 million people suffering from Schizophrenia and nearly 50% do not receive appropriate treatment because in the developing countries people still perceive it as some demonic possession or witchcraft, where the patient’s condition gets more deteriorated. Their beliefs and hallucinations are real and disturbing to them. So the best decision would be admitting the patient in Psychiatric Hospital where they would be treated with anti-psychotics, psychotherapies, psychoeducation, support and respect. Schizophrenia has been misperceived as a disabling disorder however treatment in Psychiatric Hospital is structured and patient oriented which enables the patient to identify the symptoms, manage it and seek help. The main motto of the treatment is to make the patient functional in bio-psycho-social aspects of life.

So, is there any cure for Schizophrenia? Probably not, because it’s like other illnesses which are not curable but can be treated well. Through the regular treatment people can regain their life and this process is called ‘recovery’. You will get to know about ‘Recovery’ soon…..

 

To be continued……

Tips to relearn social skills while in a Psychiatric Hospital

tulasi psychiatric hospital in delhi ncr

Learning Social skills consists of learning activities utilizing behavioral techniques that enable persons with disabling mental disorders to acquire interpersonal disease management and independent living skills for improved functioning in their respective communities & societies. A large and growing body of research supports the efficacy and effectiveness of social skills training for mental illnesses & disorders. When the type and frequency of training is linked to the phase of the disorder, patients in psychiatric hospitals can learn and retain a wide variety of social and independent living skills. Generalization of the skills for use in everyday life occurs when patients at psychiatric hospitals are provided with opportunities, encouragement, and reinforcement for practicing the skills in relevant situations. Recent advances in skills training include special adaptations and applications for improved generalization of training into the community, short-term stays in psychiatric inpatient units, dually diagnosed substance abusing mentally ill, minority groups, amplifying supported employment, treatment refractory schizophrenia, older adults, overcoming cognitive deficits, and negative symptoms as well as the inclusion of social skills training as part of multidimensional treatment and rehabilitation programs being undertaken at psychiatric hospitals.

Given the key role of effective communication in obtaining one’s needs for normal community functioning, social competence is essential for a satisfactory quality of life. “Social competence” can be defined as the “ability to achieve legitimate, personally relevant goals” through interacting with others in all situations: work, school, home and neighborhood, recreation, shopping and consumer services, medical and mental care. In contrast, “social skills” represent the “constituent behaviors” which, when combined in appropriate sequences and used with others in appropriate ways and places, enable an individual to have the success in daily living reflected by social competence.

Skills are the raw material of social competence and comprise the full range of human social performance: verbal, nonverbal, and paralinguistic behaviors; accurate social perception; effective processing of social information to make decisions and responses that conform to the normative, reasonable expectations of situations, and rules of society; assertiveness; conversational skills; skills related to management and stabilization of one’s mental disorder and expressions of empathy, affection, sadness, and other emotions that are appropriate to the context and expectations of other patients at the psychiatric hospital. In summary, social skills represent the topography of social interaction, whereas social competence reflects the accumulation of self-efficacy and real-world success through experiencing the favorable consequences of interactions within the psychiatric hospital.

The term “skills”—in contrast to the term “abilities”—implies that they are predominantly based on learning experiences. Thus, social skills training utilizes behavior therapy principles and techniques for teaching individuals to communicate their emotions and requests so that they are more likely to achieve their goals and meet their needs for affinitive relationships and roles required for independent living. This modality of treatment at psychiatric hospitals and rehabilitation centers has been empirically validated for a broad range of mental disorders and other psychological problems. Because of its protean and generic applications to such disparate functions as family psycho-education, behavioral marital therapy, and dialectical behavior therapy, social skills training can be best defined by its operational components inside psychiatric hospitals, rehabilitation centres and psychiatric nursing homes, such as the ones being successfully run by Tulasi’s Group of Psychiatric Hospitals.

What it is like to be in a Psychiatric Hospital located in the NCR

psychiatric hospital delhi ncr The impression of a psychiatric hospital in Delhi NCR, for most, reminds them of lush air-conditioned facilities and getaway resorts, while some others are reminded of a shady asylum where residing patients are ill-treated. However, it is not like any of the stories you may have heard of and definitely unlike the movies you may have seen which stereotype psychiatric hospitals.

Patients who undergo residential treatment in psychiatric hospitals come across incredibly positive and extremely negative experiences while residing there. This, however, depends on the circumstances of the individual and the type of residential treatment he/she is undergoing at the psychiatric hospital.

Before one is sent to a psychiatric hospital, it’s imperative for him/her to get a hang of the kind of atmosphere and treatment he/she will be subject to inside the psychiatric hospital. Audio-visual and print media like television, newspapers, internet and movies don’t tell the whole story and one should know what to really expect. The concerned patient or one of his/her family members/guardians should ideally visit the establishment before admission of the patient into the same.

What leads to admission into a Psychiatric Hospital?

Persons who are advised residential treatment in psychiatric hospitals usually have been struggling with a multitude of mental health conditions such as dementia, major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, etc. Such patients require long term & full time assistance due to decreased functioning because of psychiatric disorders and hence need residential care 24 x 7. However, there should be no stigma associated with hospitalization into a psychiatric hospital. Getting hospitalized into one may be one of the most constructive decisions the affected person makes in a lifetime.

A person struggling with mental health disorders gets hospitalized either voluntarily or involuntarily. Voluntary admission is done with the patient’s consent while involuntary admission is done forcefully without the consent of the patient.

Involuntary admissions are normally brief and if a longer stay is determined to be required, a court order must be obtained.

What exactly goes on inside a Psychiatric Hospital?

By and large, once people are admitted into a psychiatric hospital, they consult a psychiatrist & a general physician. The patient’s bodily and psychological states are assessed. The patients are assisted by a mental health counselor or social worker to help them get acclimatized to the new environment and provide them psychological support. Then, the patient is apprised of the schedule which is to be followed in the establishment.

Then the patient will work with a mental health professional from that psychiatric hospital to make treatment decisions that will generally include psychiatric medication. If the admission is involuntary, emergency medication maybe given initially without the consent of the patient but other than that, patients can be active in their mental health treatment decisions.

During the day, mental health patients typically undergo:

•Group therapy – this is an assisted conversation with other patients. This type of group is typically moderated by a medical professional, a psychologist or a psychiatrist.

Group therapy is usually based around a specific therapy such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or interpersonal therapy.

• Individual therapy – individual therapy involves a mental health professional like a psychiatrist or psychologist interacting with a patient during a one-on-one session. This therapy type might be psychodynamic (also known as “talk therapy”), a dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Other than these, there are many types of other mental health treatments which the doctors will consider.

• Personal time: between activities, people typically get a lot of time at hand to spare. How people use this time is up to them. However, resting and reflecting has been proven to be the best utilization of this additional time.

• Guests: when relatives or friends visit the psychiatric hospital, it is up to the allotted mental health professional to decide as to whether or not the patient is allowed to meet the visitor. In certain psychiatric hospitals, patients may also be allowed to leave the facility for outings, accompanied by family members or friends. Outings usually last for 4-12 hours. In case of emergencies, however, they may last for a few days.

Dread & fright of admission into a Psychiatric Hospital:

It’s normal to be petrified of going into a psychiatric hospital if one has never been treated in one earlier. Nevertheless, there is every chance of the concerned person finding the experience to be a helpful and constructive turning point in his/her life. Here at Tulasi’s Group of renowned psychiatric hospitals located across Delhi-NCR, involved in psycho-social rehabilitation of mental illness and alcohol & substance abuse disorders, we deal with acute and chronic mental illnesses. Our treatment is customized according to the individuals’ needs. We have a team of well-experienced Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Medical and Paramedical staff who are devoted to the treatment of patients suffering from addiction and mental disorders.  Treatment of Alcohol addiction with bipolar disorder requires a combination of medication, therapies and implementation of the 12-step program.

COPING WITH SCHIZOPHRENIA

SCHIZOPHRENIASchizophrenia is a mental disorder in which there is a gross disturbance of reality and distorted thought processes. Delusions and Hallucinations are the main symptoms which are called positive symptoms of schizophrenia along with symptoms of decreased speech, lack of emotions, and a withdrawal from society , are called the negative symptoms of schizophrenia.
Coping with these symptoms is a difficult challenge and to be able to function properly on a day to day basis and maintain a quality life may seem impossible. But there are strategies on helping a person cope with having schizophrenia and lessen the severity of these symptoms.
Hallucinations: These are false perceptions without any external stimulus. For e.g. hearing of voices in your ear when no one is around are auditory hallucinations. Likewise there are Visual Hallucinations, olfactory, gustatory, tactile, all related to the 5 senses like hearing, seeing, smell, taste and touch. The most common hallucinations among schizophrenic patients are auditory hallucinations.
Coping strategies:
1) Distractions: Distracting oneself when hallucinations are ongoing with listening to music or watching TV helps aid in controlling the hallucinations.
2) Fighting back: Studies suggest that instead of resisting the voices which tend to lead to depression in many schizophrenic patients, fighting back with yelling “Stop!” or talking back to the voices helps a lot.
3) Mindfulness technique: Staying aware of the present environment and using the technique of “Acceptance and commitment” in which a person acknowledges the voices but does not agree to accept the guidance they give.
4) Be Selective: Voices heard in hallucinations may be either positive or negative. Willing to listen to the positive voices and asking the negative voices to stop or being firm and saying one will only pay attention if the voices have something useful to say can be used as a coping method.

Delusions: They are beliefs held with strong conviction despite evidence to the contrary. Persecutory, grandiose, referential, infidelity, control, guilt, is to name a few.

Coping strategies:
1)Distraction: Distracting oneself with music or watching television or engaging onself in a task such as a puzzle or artwork.
2) Asking for Help: Surrounding yourself with friends or family or a health care provider for support to provide a source of distraction or just a listening ear.
3) Yoga: Engaging oneself in a few minutes of meditation each day and regular yoga helps in balancing the body, mind and spirit. Exercise or going for long walks or jogs has proven beneficial in coping with delusions in schizophrenia.
4) Early intervention therapy : People diagnosed with schizophrenia and suffering from delusions and hallucinations may attend group or individual sessions on a weekly basis in which coping skills are emphasized and recognizing early signs and triggers and reporting a change in symptoms helps the healthcare provider schedule regular visits and mediation adjustment as per need.

Using these few simple strategies along with the prescribed medications for schizophrenia aid in lessening the severity of the symptoms experienced by a person and maintains a balance and provides a better quality of life.

Dr. Janvi sherpa

CLOZAPINE – AN ATYPICAL ANTIPSYCHOTIC

Clozapine is an atypical antipsychotic which is a newer generation antipsychotic. This drug is used to restore the balance of neurotransmitters in the brain namely dopamine levels, the imbalance of which is known to cause many psychiatric disorders, namely treatment resistant schizophrenia, refractive bipolar illness, dysphoric mania and rapid cycling mania.

Clozapine has many benefits in treating such disorders. It is known to have an improvement on verbal efficacy thus by improve the ability to generate words which is a common symptom (negative symptom) in schizophrenia that is poverty of speech. It is also known to decrease the rate of suicide in schizophrenic patients.

It has been known to show many cognitive benefits in patients suffering from the chronic ailment of schizophrenia. Studies and trials have shown a significant improvement in treatment resistant schizophrenia. When patients show an inadequate response to at least 2 antipsychotics at their maximum dose in respect of their therapeutic range in trials lasting 6 weeks or more, this is treatment resistant schizophrenia and where clozapine comes in to play a major role. Many patients have shown significant improvement after the use of clozapine in their treatment protocol.

Of course it is important to remember to start the dose of clozapine slowly and slowly titrate the levels till an optimal level is attained and making sure weekly blood samples are sent for the initial 6 months, then every 2 weeks for the next 6 months and then every month there after, as clozapine is known to cause a decrease in the white blood cells which may prove fatal. Along with that it is also known to have a few other side effects like any other medication which is best to be watched out for.

The common side effects being :

  1. Constipation
  2. Dizziness
  3. Drowsiness
  4. Increased Salivation
  5. Hypotension ( decrease in blood pressure )
  6. Blurred vision
  7. Weight gain
  8. Sedation
  9. Seizures
  10. Tremors

 

The rare and very rare side effects are:

  1. Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome ( report to your doctor if incase of high fever)
  2. Delirium
  3. Diabetes Mellitus
  4. Cardiac arrest
  5. Kidney failure
  6. Obsessive –Compulsive disorders
  7. Very high blood sugar level leading to ketoacidosis or coma

 

Thus, it is important to know about your medications, know the benefits and the adverse effects and be able to weigh the pros and cons and especially the benefits of this wonder drug known to improve the quality of life in patients without hope of any.

Consult your doctors and health professionals before starting any psychiatric medication, but being informed and aware of the various medical support out there is very good start at achieving the best treatment possible.

 

Dr. Janvi Sherpa , Medical Officer

Tulasi Health Care

Tulasi health care is a leading  rehabilitation centre in delhi,india. It is well known for treatment  and rehabilitation of schizophrenia. please call us or write to us on [email protected]

 

MYTHS AND FACTS ABOUT SCHIZOPHRENIA:

schizophreniaThere are common misconceptions about schizophrenia even today, In spite of new developments in the mental health field. Awareness regarding this mental ailment is necessary so as to get a better understanding about the disease and identifying the symptoms at the earliest, in order to seek treatment without delay. Here are common myths along with the facts about SCHIZOPHRENIA.

MYTH 1) Schizophrenia is a split personality or a multiple personality disorder.

FACT 1) Schizophrenia is not a split personality disorder it is in fact a “split from reality” or in other words a break from reality.

MYTH 2) Schizophrenics are dangerous and belong to mental hospitals.

FACT 2) Schizophrenics under treatment are no more dangerous than the person living next door in our society. Even when not under treatment, they are more likely to be withdrawn and stay to themselves. There is a chance they may be violent sometimes due to their delusions or hallucinations, but there is a solution to the problem by getting right treatment. Most schizophrenics under treatment function well, lead a normal life and stay in the society.

MYTH 3) Hallucinations only occur in Schizophrenia.

FACT 3) Hallucinations along with Delusions are the common symptoms in schizophrenia. Hallucinations may also occur in other mental illness like Alcohol withdrawal syndrome, schizoaffective disorder. So it is important to seek a psychiatrist’s opinion in reaching a correct diagnosis and treatment.

MYTH 4) Schizophrenia could occur due to a spell being cast by black magic.

FACT 4) It is a disease occurring due to an imbalance in the chemicals in the brain that is increase of dopamine levels in the brain. No amount of spells or voodoo could make anyone get schizophrenia.

MYTH 5) Schizophrenia is infectious and living with someone with schizophrenia could make one get it as well.

FACT 5) Schizophrenia is caused by genetic factors, trauma, drug abuse etc. Living with someone with schizophrenia cannot make one get it .It is neither an infectious illness like the common cold nor can it be sexually transmitted.

MYTH 6) Bad parenting could lead to schizophrenia.

FACT 6) It is thought that bad parenting especially by the mother can lead to schizophrenia. It is mental illness and few parenting mistakes will not predispose your child to schizophrenia.

MYTH 7) People of poor intelligence get schizophrenia.

FACT 7) People with schizophrenia demonstrate average intelligence as the rest of the population. In fact there have been studies co-linking schizophrenia with smart and intellectual people.

MYTH 8)People with schizophrenia can’t hold a job.

FACT 8) It may be difficult with the antipsychotic medications that are often prescribed; they may tire easily and won’t be able to work prolonged number of hours. With the right support system they can function well in society and find a job to suit their skills.

MYTH 9) There is no recovery for a person with Schizophrenia.

MYTH 9) Although there is no cure for schizophrenia, with effective early treatment and continuing it, a person can live a healthy, functional, and a productive life.

contributed by Dr Janvi Sherpa medical officer Tulasi Health Care. for queries write to us on [email protected]

A Man – Part 2

It really didn’t take much of an intervention to get me into rehab.

A couple of friends showed up at the door one day and told me that I was a mess and was finally going to get some help for it. They also reminded me that it was I who had muttered the word “rehab” in the first place. Despite being completely tanked up at the time, I was ready for it.

In my head though, rehab meant a place to go where they’d help me put the brakes on my runaway lifestyle. I didn’t think I needed a complete overhaul. Not yet.

Perverse optimism perhaps but I truly believe that it helped me at that point because had I known just how much of a change and the lifelong commitment it involved, I might not have been able to step through those doors in the first place.

My first seventy two hours at Tulasi Healthcare went by in a fuzzy haze. Celebrating my upcoming incarceration, I’d had a drink or eight the night before my admission which left me fuggy, and I had also surreptitiously snuck in a couple of days worth of sleeping pills into the facility. One of  biggest fears at the time was not being able to fall asleep without alcohol.

When I finally surfaced, I felt awash in a sense of relief. The bright, clean environment, the welcoming and supportive counsellors and medical staff who assured me that I’d made the right decision, all came together to skew my perspective to a degree of optimism I hadn’t felt in years.

Amongst the other residents, I met a whole new bunch of people who were all there for varying reasons. Some were alcoholics like me, others for substance abuse problems ranging from solvents, psychedelic drugs such as marijuana or LSD, opiates and even prescription drugs. There was even a delightful elderly gentleman whose only vice it seemed, was cigarettes.

I came to know later that there were also some patients who were there for the treatment of psychiatric problems such as schizophrenia, bipolar and anxiety disorders among others.

I was given a thorough medical check-up and told that I should be glad that in spite of having been pickled in alcohol for fifteen years, my liver had not yet started to pack up on me. I was however put on a cocktail of prescriptions ranging from diabetes medications, anti-depressants, and initially, even some sedatives to help get my sleep cycle back on track.

We followed a strict regimen for waking up and lights out, regular mealtimes, group sessions, AA meetings and other classes as well as yoga and indoor sports. Having a disciplined and structured routine was something new for me and, as I came to learn, one of the key ingredients in a successful recovery.

However, the most cathartic experience I discovered at rehab was sharing. Whether it was with the doctor, the counsellors, at group discussions or one-on-one with one of the other residents, talking about where I’d been, what I’d gone through and what I hoped to achieve lit a fire under me that kept me going on a day-to-day basis.

I felt I was on my way.