Schizophrenia costs the Social Security Administration billions (yes, with a "b") of dollars in disability benefits. The cost of human misery is inestimable. Can't put a price on pain.
I've seen the devastation up close and personal in my practice. On one occasion, parents brought their teen to me for an assessment. "It's likely ADHD", said dad. I diagnosed their teen with schizophrenia. It's hard to pay attention when the voices are talking to you.
When the teen went to the psychiatrist, the first step, before medication was a "rule out" of temporal lobe epilepsy which mimics schizophrenia. It wasn't epilepsy. Ugh.
Mother, desperate for the "why" behind the "what" came in to see me on her own so she wouldn't have an "audience" of her family. Mother wanted to know if it was her fault. After all, schizophrenia doesn't run in the family.
I asked her if she had the flu some time during the first 3-4 months after conception. "Yes, it was the worst". Then when I learned I was pregnant, I thought the vomiting was related to being pregnant.
The World Health Organization, in an attempt to identify the cause of schizophrenia "hot spots" around the world, launched one of the biggest health investigations ever seen. They tested air, water, soil, food, everything in these hot spots. In the end, the one common factor was the flu. When these women got the flu, it enlarged the anterior (front) ventricles of the brain that house cerebral spinal fluid which presses on the brain causing hallucinations and difficulties with cognition.
It's a big deal. Learn all you can to help you cope with your family member or friend. Perhaps you're the one with schizophrenia. E. Fuller Torrey spent a lifetime investigating schizophrenia. He's written several books, one of which is Surviving Schizophrenia, a Family Manual. Check it out. Incredible.
Dr. Torrey has written (probably) 20 books. This man is on a mission to not imprison the mentally ill, but to give them the treatment that they need to live as well as they can without being destructive to society. He's realistic.
If you're worried about the same issues as he is (shouldn't we all be?), check him out.
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