As of 2018, schizophrenia has now become more understood by the general public. That being said, it is still being investigated in a sense that there are things to this day that are still being discovered regarding this mental illness. Just over one percent of Americans are currently diagnosed with a form of schizophrenia. That means 3.2 million individuals are living with hallucination, paranoia, hearing voices, depression, fear, persecutory delusion, or religious delusion, and many other symptoms on a daily basis. Individuals under the age of eighteen are most commonly diagnosed with onset schizophrenia until they are adults. As adults, they can be diagnosed with schizophrenia itself. The following contains information on the effects that schizophrenia may have on an individual in terms of going through school. This paper will refer to onset schizophrenia and schizophrenia as one, where they have similar to equal symptoms. The history of schizophrenia is a timeline of discoveries over hundreds of years. According to an article written by Anja Vaskinn and Ahmad Abu-Akel, schizophrenia was actually considered autism.
A man by the name of Bleuler made connections between children with autism and children with what is now called schizophrenia, and immediately placed them into the same category. Clearly, schizophrenia was once an extremely misunderstood disorder that received minimal to no attention to the public. When it was noticed and brought to the attention to others, it was extremely negative, even by the people trying to educate others on the topic quite understood what it exactly was. Schizophrenia was first discovered by a man named Kraepelin in 1887. Although he had many mistaken beliefs about schizophrenia, he was the first person to distinguish schizophrenia from many other forms of psychosis, which was a very influential time in the world when it came to understanding mental illness, even minimally. It was not called schizophrenia until later in history but instead demence precoce (premature dementia), due to the belief that it was simply just that. This was after the discovery of the dramatic differences in autism and individuals with schizophrenia. Prior, and even following this discovery, people thought this form of psychosis was demonic or satanic which resulted in unfair treatment to individuals living with this condition.
Violence and belittling was a common thing individuals with schizophrenia would face. Most either locked away or never to leave their homes in fear of the repercussions they may face. Due to science and the efforts to better individuals living with schizophrenia, today, people living with these conditions are much more understood and can live a more normal life than ever before. That being said, similarly to other mental illnesses and/or mental disorders, over time, more of a grasp of understanding developed, but still to this day, schizophrenia is one of the least understood mental disorder to the general society which still creates challenges. As far as living a normal life, many individuals may be able to get the help they need to live as normal as possible. That is not always the case if this condition goes untreated or unmedicated. Schizophrenia can be extremely detrimental to a schooling experience. From a professor's point of view, Schwitzer states: Bipolar disorder and schizophrenia pose the greatest risk to a student's health because thoughts and emotions can become so impaired that the student loses contact with external reality(Schwitzer 10). Although he is referring to both bipolar and schizophrenia, they do have a similar effect on the outcome of the education of the student. Not only does schizophrenia diminish the barrier between reality and imaginary scenarios in their heads, it commonly results in diminishing the barrier when it comes to what individuals should and shouldn't do.
Many times, a teacher may see a student staring at a paper with a blank face assuming the student is unable to complete the task given to due to their lack of knowledge or limited strengths in the subject, but that isn't the case at all. A common symptom of schizophrenia is staring blankly and freezing as if they are stuck and unable to move at that moment. In many cases, they cannot comprehend what is going on around them and completely go into a state of blackness to them where their thoughts are compromised by visuals and voices that can be very frightening to the individual. This results in a lack of attention to the teaching or lesson being spoken about. In many occasions, students fall behind due to this occurring often and uncontrollably. Individuals do have the ability to learn and gain knowledge the same as their peers, which was once a common misconception for a long time, but studies show that if a student with schizophrenia is on the correct medicine and/or receiving therapy, the common episodes can be more controlled and minimize. This can result in an easier educational experience. According to a study performed by six scientists and psychologists, many tasks do present challenges for people living with schizophrenia, whereas some people can fulfill tasks without any problems. This can be due to the differentiating severity of the schizophrenia among a person, or whether or not an individual is medicated or going through therapy. Theory of Mind (ToM) is a multifaceted construct that involves mental states attribution in social interactions. Patients with schizophrenia are impaired in ToM abilities, but recent studies showed that a non-negligible number of patients perform within normal ranges or close to normal, whereas other patients are very impaired in ToM tasks.
Theory of mind is the ability to recognize that you have your own set of beliefs, intents, desires, emotions, knowledge, and to understand that others have the same, and they can be different than yours. When it comes to this, this can create issues with interacting with other people. That is a struggle for many people living with schizophrenia while going through their educational career always being surrounded by others with different ways of living, thoughts, emotions, beliefs. Many times, most commonly in cases of patients going untreated or unmedicated (also poorly medicated), a manic episode may occur due to a trigger by someone around them, unintentionally, that results in the individual being taken out of the school system and placed into a mental hospital to get the proper treatment. A lot of times, when that happens, students fall behind a significant amount due to the lack of schooling they may be getting in said mental hospital. This hospitalization can range in time from anywhere from a few days, to years, having detrimental outcomes on their educational career. If released from the treatment facility or mental hospital, students may join back into school, many times having to stay back a grade. Some more longer-term facilities give patients the opportunity to get an education while staying in the facility but it tends to be limited and not as thorough as a normal school, for obvious reasons. That being said, once released from the facility on proper medications and/or receiving therapy, an individual can enter into an educational environment with more confidence and be able to be more successful with their educational career.
In regards to individuals growing up with onset schizophrenia, or schizophrenia, they face numerous challenges on a day-to-day basis. From the time they wake up to the time they go to sleep (and even some while sleeping), they face many symptoms that affect their days in a negative way. Anything from living with hallucination, paranoia, hearing voices, depression, fear, persecutory delusion, or religious delusion, and to many other symptoms. With the increases of diagnosis in the United States each year, it is important to be educated on the topic of schizophrenia and how it affects an individual in regards to their educational career. It can result in many students work seeming to be lazy in the eyes of some teachers, but in reality, they may not know the information due to some of the symptoms of schizophrenia. For instance; going into an almost blackout zone and cannot hear or even sometimes see what is going on around them due to hallucinations or voices in their head, resulting in missing a whole lesson or lecture. They also may fall behind due to being pulled out of a school system for treatment. With the right medication and treatment, a student will be more successful and could demonstrate their understanding of topics in a clear way. Schizophrenia has a great impact on the individuals educational career.
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