"Schizophrenia is a cruel disease. The lives of those affected are often chronicles of constricted experiences, muted emotions, missed opportunities, unfulfilled expectations. It leads to a twilight existence, a twentieth-century underground man... It is in fact the single biggest blemish on the face of contemporary American medicine and social services; when the social history of our era is written, the plight of persons with schizophrenia will be recorded as having been a national scandal". E. Fuller Torrey, M.D., "Surviving Schizophrenia" The impact that schizophrenia has on the individual with the illness, and his / her family, friends, relatives, is huge. Life will not be the same, however it does not become corrupt, or unmanageable. It's hard to understand what the individual is going through, but with family and friend's support, life can be made a lot easier.

The Impact on the Individual with Schizophrenia A) The Symptoms and Illness Itself It's hard to anyone to imagine what the individual is going through unless they " ve been through it themselves. The victim may go through: Aggression, Hostility, and Violence Not very often does the individual become highly violent, but when it does happen, it always hits the headlines, recreating the stigma of what schizophrenia is. Sometimes short violent spurts occur however, especially if the individual feels that they " re being monitored, or is under and sort of stress. Depression Often the individual will become depressed after they realize what they are going through, or realize that their hallucinations are not real. Prescribed drugs may help relieve the depression, but often the sufferer needs professional help or counseling. However, the depression may become so serious that the sufferer is suicidal, perhaps attempting suicide.

Withdrawal The victim will often have difficulty interacting with people and forming relationships, causing's / he to withdraw from society, to escape the "normal world". Rejection Often causing withdrawal, the victim may be rejected by family, friends, relatives, or anyone, once they are aware of the illness the victim has. It is so important that family and friends be supportive of the sufferer, learning to accept reality without hostility or anger towards the victim, making them feel rejected. B) Living With the Family Relatives are not the only people to feel the strain of living with a recovering schizophrenic patient. The sufferer also has to adjust to the situation, his illness and the changes in him, and his new position in the family. Talking to Relatives Sufferers sometimes find themselves fighting a barrier between themselves and other members of their family.

The experiences that are part of schizophrenia seem so bizarre that there may be a degree of embarrassment in talking to family. It is hard for the victim to tell the family how they " re feeling, because the family has no idea since they " ve never experienced such a thing before. Impatience between the sufferer and the family, possibly over whether the victim really knows what they " re doing, may lead to arguments, bitterness, and problems. Dependency The sufferer may become dependent on the relatives he / she lives with, having a meal prepared, their laundry done, doing all the daily comforts, being the only source of contact with the outside world, and they are comforted by the nature of the relationship. This may be hard for family or spouse because it seems like they have a child to look after; however the sufferer does not really know the strain that they " re putting on the family or spouse. The Myth of the "Before" Person It is obvious that schizophrenia changes people, and many sufferers are aware that they are not the same person that they were before the illness struck.

They know that they cannot do all the same things, concentrate fully, or talk to people the same. The person no longer sees themselves as how they used to be, nor does the family or friends. It is especially difficult for a sufferer to listen to people discuss the "before" and "afters". The sufferer needs to know that they are accepted by family and friends as they are NOW. C) Living in Society Society often believes schizophrenics to be crazy, violent, insane, etc, and the sufferer may be stigmatized with the label "mental or ex-mental patient" or "schizophrenic", making the victim feel alone, embarrassed, ashamed, of what people now know about him / her.

This can also prevent the victim from making friends, or getting employment.