While researching, I happened upon The World Health Organization (WHO) 100-some odd page 2012 document about rates of schizophrenia across the globe. The problem is, largely half of the report is about depression. The WHO apparently thinks sz and depression are similar enough to lump together in one large bucket. To further confuse things, I looked up Mood Disorder and found it includes alcoholism and substance abuse along with bipolar disorder. “Mood Disorder” is a term psychologists like to use. My own neurobehaviorist preferred to call sz a “thought disorder” — a status it shares with psychosis. Let’s not make this more confusing than it already is, however.
Schizophrenia is a neurobiological disorder, in the same company as Tourette’s Syndrome, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and Autism. I did not learn this from my doctor, for as you recall, he prefers another term, a term which some argue is vague and circular along the lines of “psychotic disorder.”
To make matters worse, schizophrenia shares common characteristics with brain injuries, such as confusion, disorientation, and poor judgment. Agnosia, or an inability to know one is sick or injured, can also be present in both psychosis and schizophrenia, but it is a hallmark of brain injury. Schizophrenia can be present with a brain injury, also called comorbid schizophrenia. Very few people argue diseases or injuries to the brain are not among the most serious, debilitating ailments. Right? The question is, why is schizophrenia, more often than not, placed with depression and alcoholism, than with true, physical changes in the brain that cause permanent disease and disability?
The myth persists that schizophrenia is a result of some emotional trauma and the person who suffers is simply not a resilient person. We must dispel this myth and displace psychosis and schizophrenia from the likes of an out-of-control scary Hollywood outburst to where it rightfully belongs, as an injury to the most crucial and critical part of the body. As long as we continue to lump sz together with emotional upsets, we strike not only at the heart of the individual, we also miss the target entirely. In this way, we will never find healing.