Got stuck on the bus the other day and had a notification about a few essays and one essay caught my eye. It was about the term schizophrenia and the arguments for and against the term in general psychiatric discourse. It was pretty short if only twelve pages but covered the main arguments, effective yet brief. It is true that the term itself probably outlines a number of psychiatric disorders that may not be clearly understood. The lack of physical signs leaves the term without a serious scientific basis though pharmaceuticals can in some cases treat the symptoms.
What I found interesting was the patient as either feeling they have an illness though difficult to define and other patients who feel they don’t have an illness. The paper was fairly moderate in that they admit that even though there are issues with the term it does help in real world treatment and diagnosis to at times mitigate the symptoms.
The rise of psychiatry is noted as well as the rise of pharmaceutical companies which don’t necessarily help validate the loosely fitting term of schizophrenia. If anything there is more research needed though current understandings can engage with psychotic symptoms and treatment.
As someone with a psychotic illness I understand to an extent the idea of having an illness but when I look at my life I definitely had issues decades before diagnosis. This residual journey to psychosis was in a way a cycle of psychosis that came and went throughout my life that was displayed in episodes of anxiety that would clear then eventually return. That though was until the cycle stopped and became a permanent fixture which I was then stuck in.
The cycle of psychosis for me was more difficult as it would affect me for weeks at a time. Once it was permanent and treated my entire life to an extent improved as I had something to keep psychosis at bay. It is always there though but I can at least manage it more effectively whereas I managed it through isolation when I was younger.
It would have been impossible to continue the isolation cycle as I became a full time worker. It wouldn’t have been practical in any way. I wish though the residual or early symptoms were easier to treat. Even if I have had had a low level dose of antipsychotics in my earlier life that would have helped. Though I need to remind the reader that no such effective medications actually existed at that point of my life. The medications in their earlier guise were maybe more damaging than the new generation of drugs to arrive some decades later.
In some ways the later life diagnosis was helpful as the pharmaceuticals could have a beneficial effect rather than cause other problems that can develop with earlier drugs. For all of the problems I experienced pre diagnosis I at least managed as best I could. I can see the term of schizophrenia is quite vague yet the term still helps both psychiatrists and patients. Yet without doubt I am hopeful there are more break throughs to come hopefully soon.