Schizophrenia: Dangerous and Violent or Misunderstood?

1% of the population, about 2.2 million people, will develop Schizophrenia, and 10% of the people with Schizophrenia commit suicide(Schizophrenia – Fact Sheet).The disorder is a breakdown between emotions, thought, and behavior leading to fake perception, inappropriate feelings and actions, withdrawal from reality and personal relationships into fantasy and delusion. Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that usually appears in the late 20’s of a person’s life, “For some it starts gradually and for others it can be triggered by stress or trauma but, no event can cause the disorder, (Crash Course)” but can come at any time in someone’s life. Schizophrenic patients are usually viewed as dangerous and violent because of the hallucinations they see and voices they hear who usually, tell them to hurt others or themselves.

Mental patients are being discriminated in many ways, in many places, daily social discrimination, and in health care. A woman with schizophrenia was once asked to not have children. People with relatives with third-degree schizophrenia are twice as likely to develop schizophrenia as those in the general population. Second degree has a slightly higher incidence of schizophrenia than the general population, and first-degree relatives have an incidence of schizophrenia an order of tiny higher than the general populace. The doctor assumed that since the mother has schizophrenia that the child will probably have it as well, when in reality schizophrenia is not connected to any one gene. It is possible for the child to be born without any type of mental disorder, or it can have a different mental disorder like depression, but it is highly impossible for the child to have the exact same disorder that the parent has.

People with schizophrenia get presented in media in horrible ways, they also get pushed away from society and left there with a little help. Yet, most who take their medication can live in society like “normal people” because the medication will soften the voices down if not block them completely. Living with the stigma and misconceptions they live with is hard, that is why a lot of them commit suicide. In this paper, I will be talking about the misconceptions of patients with Schizophrenia, the discrimination faced by them and their family, and what we can do to stop it.

Accepting the diagnosis of Schizophrenia may lead to accepting the negative identity assigned to them “Am I a mindless fool? My life is a fragment, a disconnected dream that has no continuity. I am so tired of senselessness. I am tired of the music that my feelings sing, the dream music,¨ (Ross David Burke, When the Music’s Over: My Journey into Schizophrenia). When someone gets the mental disorder, they do not just have to live with the disorder itself, but also with the stigma that is attached to the disorder. An article by Dr.Harrison, a professor at the University of Bradford, showed two types of stigma, “internal stigma: where shame and expectation of discrimination are likely to inhabit a person from disclosing a mental health problem, and external stigma: which is experience of unfair treatment by others (Herrison)”. Proving that there are far more problems that schizophrenics have to live with other than the disorder.

Internal stigma is possibly because the media only shows narrowly based stories positioned on stereotypes and the extreme cases and not the minor cases. The media only shows what they believe to bring more attention or get them noticed, they will not put “28 year-old women lives a normal life with Schizophrenia,” over, “Schizophrenic patient believes his voices are coming from the afterlife.” The media is just looking to sell their products and they will focus on the extreme cases because they are more interesting and attention grabbing. The patients hold themselves to these standards and expect to be like them, like all the cases they have seen in the media. In an interview with John Bisenius, a licensed clinical social worker, Bisenius stated that patients “do not want to be seen as weak” and, therefore, do not get treatment. The media is showing the world that these patients are a certain way when in reality there are different cases for every single person.

External stigma is more about when the patient is not being treated fairly because of the disorder and it can affect their relationships. In an article written by a neuroscientist, Miguel Angel González-Torres, after the patient accepts the fact that they are ill, they will also try to hide the fact that they are ill because they are ashamed of it, “American study showing that families tend to conceal their relatives mental illness less when positive symptoms were more severe,”(González-Torres). They tend to hide the fact of the mental disorder because of all the negative light that is placed on mental illnesses. They do not want to be know as a family member of a ¨psycho¨, ¨crazy¨, or ¨nuts¨ person. In many places when they hear mental disorder the automatically think of “crazy” and schizophrenics are not “crazy,” because “medications will soften the voices down or will block them out completely,”(Bisenius) they can live a completely normal life without the hallucinations if they take the medications.

Schizophrenics and others with mental disorders are viewed as smaller or lower on the social level because of the disorder. They get discriminated because of their symptoms, for example the auditory hallucinations can cause someone to scream in anger because they want the voices to stop or they are responding to the voices in the same tone being spoken to them. While doing these things in an apartment the neighbors may complain about the noise and the schizophrenic will gets evicted from their home, instead of being understanding of their condition. Just like when looking for a job, a business owner will prefer to hire a person who will bring in less problems to work, rather than someone who has it written all over them, that they are dangerous, and violent, because that is how the media displays it to be. Schizophrenia also does not allow the patients to concentrate and focus on work, which can cause a problem for them. This kind of treatment only leads to further mental problems like depression, and relapse of the patient.

Also, people tend to fear them because they seem ¨crazy,¨ so therefore, they keep away. If someone would run into a schizophrenic in a hallway, like Bisenius stated, they would be scared of them and try to avoid them. All the fear they have is due to the fact the rest of the world is saying that they do certain things and they are supposedly psychos, movies and televisions shows convey the mentally ill as dangerous and violent. For example, a patient with schizophrenia can describe their experience as a nightmare where they see and hear terrible things, but in a real nightmare you can always wake up and it will end. With schizophrenics, that is their life and they have to live with it. Just like any person screams when they are having a bad dream, they react with terror and disapproval.

The family has lived with this person for a long time, yet they still believe in the stigma that follows the disorder. The believe what they see on the media over what they see with their own eyes. The family discriminates against their own family member and they do not understand that they are just like any other human out there, they also have feelings and emotions. A relative of a schizophrenic patient states they sometimes get mad at their schizophrenic family member because they forget about their illness. The fact that the family hides that they have a schizophrenic in their home is because they are ashamed to even be related to one and others just think of them as normal and forget they are even ill. This just proves that people with this disorder can live just like everyone else, with the help of the medication, even the family will soon forget about the disorder and it will seem like they never even had a mental illness.

In most cases, the patient lives a normal life where they have no idea and have no symptoms of Schizophrenia. Only until they reach their 20’s is when they can start to see symptoms and this is important because the misconceptions and the stigma that schizophrenics, can cause people to view others differently. When most of them are just like us, maybe even stronger, because they do the exact same things we do, but they also have to deal with everything that is added with schizophrenia. Most Schizophrenics who are able to work, wake up to go to work and have a boss they must listen to, do all the things a ¨normal¨ person would do, and they also have to face the discrimination and the disadvantages of having schizophrenia.

There are some organizations that were created to stop the stigma and get everyone informed. As humans, we tend to stay away from those things we know nothing about and assume what we have heard from other people. This organization was created to inform other of the schizophrenics and more mental disorders so we will not have to be scared of them and say things we know nothing about. The organization believes that since people are not informed they believe only what they see and hear in the media. Therefore, they want to show everyone that there is more that what the media shows. They want to show the many sides of the disorder and the good just as much as the bad is being shown in the media. For example, in movies the schizophrenic plays the serial killer or the antagonist of the film.

As time passes, minds will open up and accept that everyone is different and no one is born perfect. We will learn to live with people who are different from us just how we do not care whether a person is homosexual, heterosexual or bisexual. We have become a society that is fighting for gay rights, soon enough we will not care if they have a mental disease and because it is no ones fault that they end up with these types of diseases. In the near future, there will be much less discrimination against everyone whether it be because of sexuality to it me to their mental stability.

Further research that could be conducted is how the patient’s view other patients and themselves. Just like this research was done with society’s influence on the stigma the research could be done with the patients themselves. Also, further research could be conducted with teens with schizophrenia and how it is to have this disorder while in high school. The students would be different than adults because their maturity level is lower yet the adults in the same situation already act badly. How would high-school students act when they are around another student who is also schizophrenic, and how differently would the teachers and staff treat these students.

We may fear the fact that we know nothing in a place and we do not want to continue because it is scary to go into the unknown, but life goes on and you do not want to be left behind. This might sound selfish, but life is too short to care about others other than yourself, does it really matter what others have if it won’t affect you. No, it does not matter because at the end of the day everyone has their own life and they all live for themselves. We should not have to judge people by what they look like or what their mental stability is, but what they think and what they do, and always accept explanations because something could have just been a misunderstanding.

Schizophrenia is a disorder that can happen to anyone no matter culture, race, or nationality. Nothing from social class to your education can determine if you can get this disorder, but if it does happen to someone you know, never let the fact that they have a mental disorder drive you away because as long as they want to get better it can happen. Don’t let the unknown scare you away just because you know nothing about it. People may let bad things happen and to their loved ones, but do not let others control what you think of anything. If someone wants to state something they should know what they are talking about and not just talk without knowledge.

 

Works Cited

Bisenius, John. Telephone interview. 21 Apr. 2015.

Burke, Ross, Richard Gates, and Robin Hammond. When the Music’s Over: My Journey into Schizophrenia. New York, NY: Basic, 1995. Print.

Frances, Allen, MD. “Society’s Mismanagement of the Mentally Ill Is a Disgrace.” KevinMD.com. N.p., 20 Aug. 2014. Web. 24 Mar. 2015. <http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2014/08/societys-mismanagement-mentally-ill-disgrace.html&gt;.

González-Torres, Miguel Angel, et al. “Stigma And Discrimination Towards People With Schizophrenia And Their Family Members.”Social Psychiatry & Psychiatric Epidemiology 42.1 (2007): 14-23. Academic Search Complete. Web. 19 Mar. 2015.

Harrison, J., and A. GILL. “The Experience And Consequences Of People With Mental Health Problems, The Impact Of Stigma Upon People With Schizophrenia: A Way Forward.” Journal Of Psychiatric & Mental Health Nursing 17.3 (2010): 242-250. Academic Search Complete. Web. 19 Mar. 2015.

Kadri, Nadia, and Norman Sartorius. “The Global Fight Against The Stigma Of Schizophrenia.” Plos Medicine 2.7 (2005): 597-599.Academic Search Complete. Web. 19 Mar. 2015.

Schizophrenia & Dissociative Disorders: Crash Course Psychology #32. Dir. Nick Jankins. YouTube. YouTube, 29 Sept. 2014. Web. 14 Apr. 2015.

“Schizophrenia – Fact Sheet – Treatment Advocacy Center.” Schizophrenia – Fact Sheet – Treatment Advocacy Center. Treatmentadvocacycenter, 2015. Web. 3 May 2015. <http://www.treatmentadvocacycenter.org/problem/consequences-of-non-treatment/schizophrenia>.

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Camouflage Is Not Navy Blue

“National  Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund … found that 126 law enforcement officers were killed while on duty in 2014”(WIlliams). Over the past few years many police departments over the nation have received a lot of equipment thanks to the DoD 1033. The Department of Defence Excess Property Program also known as the DoD 1033 provides military equipment to law enforcement agencies. To use in counter-narcotics, counter-terrorism operations, and to enhance officer safety. Many people believe that police departments are taking advantage of the DoD 1033 to acquire equipment they do not need. In the Ferguson protest many innocent bystanders were victims of excessive force by police officers, using tear gas on non-violent protesters. Giving police department surplus military equipment is not a logical and cost effective way to fight crime.

There have been occasions where a criminal has done something and the police does not have the equipment to stop them or to protect the civilians.The most memorable incident was the North Hollywood Shootout. The suspect went inside a Bank of America and opened fire, with their automatic weapons. While the LAPD only had semi-automatic handguns and one shotgun. When the officers would shoot at the suspect it would not do anything because the suspects body armor would protect them from such weapons. The officers were shot by huge bullets that could not be stopped by Kevlar which resulted in many injured officers. “Am I the only one who finds this rather insulting to the nation’s first responders in general?”(Shaw). Police officers put their life on the line for people who most of the time they do not even know, yet they cannot get better equipment. The equipment is being sent out to small towns of a few thousands of people. The police, people who are suppose to keep the children safe,  will be carrying guns as if they were going in to a warzone.

We all fear in the back of our minds that police officers will start being more and more aggressive because of the new equipment. They will feel like they can do anything because no one can do anything to them. Instead of making peace and stopping crime, they will encourage it so that they could use their “cool” equipment. We have already seen this with the protestors in Ferguson when a police officer was caught on camera saying “Bring it. You f***ing animals, bring it,”(Szoldra). The police officers are now telling the protesters to start something because he knows that he is the one with a gun.

One day the police departments will see how much power they have, just in their hands and want to use it. People may think that the country will be safe with all the new police equipment because it will help people control their actions. Rather than making people safe, has anybody thought of the things the police department could do with all that equipment? The police officers would not let power get to their heads with all the new weapons, “…all sizes have been equipped with more modern, military style equipment for quite some time now and they don’t seem to be converting the rest of the nation into a series of oppressive death camps”(Shaw). However, we have all seen what could happen when the nation’s first response could do if they become corrupt. In Mexico, police officers were the cause of the 40 plus missing students, “They were ambushed and shot at along the way by police forces, leading to three deaths and several injuries,”(Planas).  The police department was the cause of the deaths and missing student, so how is it that our country will put so much trust on our first response if we see the brutal truth from all over the world.

If the nation’s first response becomes like this throughout the whole country then how is it that we will trust them to protect us. They might as well become a threat to us because they are the ones encouraging violent behavior. They are supposed to build trust with the community not make us fear the police, “when did “protect and serve” turn into “us versus them”(Szoldra). They make it seem like we are at war with them when they point their guns at us. Even if they are doing something bad do you really think “you can’t win a person’s heart and mind when you are pointing a rifle at his or her chest”(Szoldra). Even if it will cause fear of death most people do not want to die doing something they did not believe in. Most will go all the way with their beliefs, even if it leads to their death.

Police departments in cities or small towns all have access to the program, and it is obvious that even a small town wants to have the same equipment as a large city. Police departments are incentivized to use this equipment when they do not need to just so they could keep it. Therefore, most of these towns use the equipment in situations where it is not necessary. They will use it like in the Ferguson protest that the police officers through tear gas at the protesters and reporters even though the protest was nonviolent. Many places that do not have much equipment, they want better equipment for the officers, and will take any chance to prove that they need it so they could keep it.

Over the course of our life time we hear more about cops shooting and killing people who are innocent, non-violent, or with their hands up turning themselves in, rather than a cop being shot and killed. The police department all throughout the country have got more and more equipment. They are like little military bases, yet we continue to let them expand. One day we will all become a country who fears the nations first response team. We all live in this country so, why.

Works Cited

Critical Situation: North Hollywood Shootout. Dir. Jim Nally. National Geographic, 2011. Documentary.

Planas, Roque. “Damning Report Claims Mexican Federal Police Participated In Disappearance Of 43 Students.” The Huffington Post. 16 Dec. 2014. Web. 22 Jan. 2015. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/14/missing-students-mexico_n_6321866.html>.

Shaw, Jazz. “The “Militarization” of Police Was Not Only Inevitable, but Necessary.” HotAir.com. HotAir, 16 Aug. 2014. Web. 13 Jan. 2015. <http://hotair.com/archives/2014/08/16/the-militarization-of-police-was-not-only-inevitable-but-necessary/>.

Szoldra, Paul. “This Is The Terrifying Result Of The Militarization Of Police.”Business Insider. Business Insider, Inc, 12 Aug. 2014. Web. 15 Jan. 2015. <http://www.businessinsider.com/police-militarization-ferguson-2014-8>.

Williams, Timothy. “Number of Police Officers Killed on the Job Climbs.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 30 Dec. 2014. Web. 27 Jan. 2015. <http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/31/us/death-toll-climbs-for-on-duty-police-officers-in-2014.html?_r=0>.

Looking Down When We Should be Look Up

Is social media even social? Anywhere we look there is someone on social media or on their phone not caring about anything else. Recently videos about social media use have come to light, “Look Up” and “I Forgot my Phone” saying that people use their phones to much. Wherever they go they are on their phones and do not even look at people when they talk to them because they are too busy liking a picture or sending a tweet.
Going into a public place most people are on their phones, they just look through their feed or look through post. These people are friends with people on facebook who they rarely talk to in person. Even when they see each other in person do they even look at each other? People are using their phones to “socialize” with others and do not even say hello to people they pass in the hall. In the article Frequent social media use is the new normal by Bruce McKinney, a communication studies professor, talks about how “tweets and text seem to be replacing actual eye contact and the more audible and direct ‘hello’ as students pass each other in the hallway (McKinney).” Students have stopped talking to each other in person and have replaced it with text and tweets, leaving out the actual socializing part.
Seeing people put so much thought into what they upload on social media is so confusing. In school many students do class work and they do not put the same effort. They put social media in a different level of importance compared to school work. When students go home, they do not go do homework as soon as they arrive, they use phones, computers, tablets, or play video games and that is why students always say they stayed up late doing their homework. But “if you read a book, paint a picture, or do some exercise. You’re being productive and present not reserved and reclusive. You’re being awake and attentive and putting your time to good use(Turk, Look Up).” By leaving our phones or devices we could be doing something more productive because doing something that will benefit you is always better, than time you can never get back.
Social media is a good way for news to spread fast. For example, when the photograph of a young African American boy who was holding a sign that read “free hugs” was getting a hug from a caucasian police officer after the events that went on in Ferguson, Missouri. The picture was shared over 400,000 times on Facebook and reposted by over 68,000 Tumblr accounts in less than a day. Is a way for people to find out things faster and in the moment it happens, instead of waiting for the news in the afternoon or next day.
Why do people use their phones so much? In class, people take out their phones, while driving, is social media more important than someone’s life? Everything that is on social media will be there when one has a chance to check it. People take out their phones so many times you can’t count, “The average person does it 110 times a DAY. Average number of times a user checks their phone is nine times an hour, with some users unlocking their devices up to 900 times over the course of a day, which in reality is around 18 hours,”(Woollaston). People take out their phone and unlock it 900 times, for what?
Social media connects people from around the world and helps you meet new people. “The world’s leading universities are leveraging social media to connect with prospective students, current students, and alumni,”(Penna). When you are on your phone trying to meet new people on the internet, there could be someone who wants to be your friend. They want to get to know you, but you do not let them because you are always on your phone. Social media is only a distraction, it is things you can find out about the person if you only took a few minutes to talk to them in person. Social media only cuts the cords you have with friend rather than helping you create more. You are always on your own and rarely talk to anybody so why would anybody talk to you.
Social media is just a distraction that could be push aside, if it is important you will find out sooner or later. Social media is the opposite of what it is called because it does not even help you connect, it makes you more lonely. People are always on their phones and they never look up to see what they are missing of this world they live on. For the sole reason that they are being social, but are they? How would you know if someone is listening to your crying and problems and not just swiping past it.

Works Cited
McKinney, Bruce. “Frequent Social Media Use Is the New Normal.” New York Times. N.p., 23 Sept. 2013. Web. 27 Nov. 2014. <http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2013/09/23/facebook-and-narcissism/frequent-social-media-use-is-the-new-normal&gt;
Penna, Michael Dalla. “How Social Media Connects Us to the Things We Love and Transforms Life Experiences.” ClickZ. ClickZ, 19 June 2014. Web. 8 Dec. 2014. <http://www.clickz.com/clickz/column/2350864/how-social-media-connects-us-to-the-things-we-love-and-transforms-life-experiences&gt;
Woollaston, Victoria. “How Often Do You Check Your Phone? The Average Person Does It 110 times a DAY (and up to Every 6 Seconds in the Evening).” Mail Online. Associated Newspapers, 08 Oct. 2013. Web. 9 Dec. 2014. <http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2449632/How-check-phone-The-average-person-does-110-times-DAY-6-seconds-evening.html&gt;
Workneh, Lilly. “Photo Of Young Boy Hugging Officer At Ferguson Rally Goes Viral And Becomes ‘Icon Of Hope'” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 1 Dec. 2014. Web. 9 Dec. 2014.<http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/11/30/young-boy-hugs-officer-viral_n_6244604.html&gt;