This month, when it comes to talking about the spectrum of schizophrenic disorders, I am venturing away from mental health diagnoses I’m familiar with. Schizophrenia is a serious mental disorder that affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves. People with schizophrenia may seem like they have lost touch with reality. They may hear voices other people don’t hear. They may think other people are trying to hurt them. Sometimes they don’t make any sense when they talk (NIMH).

Brain structure and function along with genetic and environmental factors are components that contribute to the onset of schizophrenia. Schizophrenia symptoms can make it hard for a person to interact with other people, go to school, keep a job, or take care of day-to-day tasks. The symptoms can be very disabling, but with effective treatment many people with schizophrenia experience recovery.

Because I am unfamiliar with the diagnosis, writing the blog for this month has caused me to face my own discomfort and feelings about persons diagnosed with schizophrenia. These include the stereotypical ideas promoted by media and common misconceptions of symptomatic behavior. I did watch the son of a dear friend travel into the disease of schizophrenia. While in the army during basic training, he experienced a psychotic break that resulted in a medical discharge. I’ve watched his struggle with accepting and owning his diagnosis along with his family’s journey of understanding the disease and becoming caregivers to support him in effectively dealing with the disease.

I met with MHMR Tarrant’s Clinical Director for Crisis Services, Brian Hoppe LPC-S, and have attached his interview which provides expanded understanding of the disease and those who are affected by it. His experience with this population helped to shed some light for me and I hope it will for you too. Brian leaves us with some wonderful words to remember; these individuals are human beings that love, hurt and care. They deserve all the respect and dignity that everyone else deserves.

MHMR Tarrant’s ICARE call line is 800-866-2045.