Schizophrenia is far more common than most people would think, and we know that it can affect anybody at all. There are some very interesting facts that exist around this mental illness, which we will review. To show just how common it is, we will also take a look at some famous schizophrenics.
Statistics on Schizophrenia
• 1 in 100 people are affected by the illness
• Men are often more likely to get it than women, although there are some cultures where the division is 50-50. The accepted theory, therefore, is that men are diagnosed earlier, which is why it may seem as if they have it more often.
• The symptoms of schizophrenia generally appear between the ages of 16 and 30, with the average age of diagnosis being 25. It is rarely diagnosed in young children and even rarer in those over the age of 45.
• One in five people in receipt of social security benefits in the U.S. have a diagnosis.
• Schizophrenia is more common than Alzheimer’s disease or Multiple Sclerosis.
What Is Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that affects all aspects of a person’s life, including how they think and act. Sufferers have an altered view of reality, which often means they lose touch with the real world. They can have both optical and auditory hallucinations and speak in ways that others are unable to understand. Commonly, schizophrenia symptoms also include feelings of paranoia, meaning a sufferer believes the world is out to get them. Because of this, those who have the illness often withdraw from the world, and when they are in more public situations, they often act out, sometimes violently.
Schizophrenia evolution can be sudden or gradual. More often than not, it is a slow process, which starts with loss of motivation and interest, eccentricity and a withdrawal from social situations. Those who have the disorder often stop looking after themselves as well, becoming unkempt and neglectful of their appearance and hygiene. There is generally a slow deterioration from here on, until help is found. The disorder is chronic, which means it is permanent and there is no cure. However, schizophrenia medicine is available, which provides some relief. Schizophrenia medication is often provided to help people who experience a psychosis, which is a period during which complete touch with reality is lost.
Famous People with Schizophrenia
There are a lot of myths surrounding this particular mental disorder, including that it is the same as having multiple personalities (this is an extremely rare, different condition), and that it is very rare. To demonstrate just how common it actually is, here are a few famous people who are known to have the condition:
• Eduard Einstein (Albert Einstein’s son)
• Skip Spence (part of Jefferson Airplane)
• Syd Barrett (part of Pink Floyd)
• Mary Todd Lincoln (Abraham Lincoln’s wife)
• Jack Kerouac
It is very important to dispel myths around this illness, mainly because it stigmatises those who do suffer from it. As a result, they often don’t seek help or, if they do, it is in the later stages, when they have entered a psychosis. Schizophrenia is a manageable condition with the right therapy and medication. There are also some theories about including nutrition in a treatment plan for a patient.
Schizophrenia and Nutrition
A lot of research is currently being conducted into the links between mental conditions and nutrition. Although still in its infancy, some interesting preliminary results have appeared. We now know that those who are schizophrenic should ensure they have sufficient vitamin B3 and B12 in their diet, as well as folic acid. They also need to watch that their levels of zinc are appropriate. This is because these all affect the neurotransmitters of the brain.