Thursday, March 12, 2009


Have you seen the movie a beautiful mind? It is a 2001 American film based on the life of John Nash, a US mathematician who despite suffering from Schizophrenia during his college years went on to live a normal life. He was awarded the Nobel prize in 1994. His life was depicted in “A beautiful mind” so beautifully that you would want to watch it just to learn more about such critical issue as schizophrenia. In the real world, Schizophrenia is often confused with multiple personality disorder but it is not!

Schizophrenia is a psychiatric diagnosis that describes a mental disorder characterized by abnormalities in the perception or expression of reality, which manifests as hallucinations, paranoid or bizarre delusions i.e. People with schizophrenia sometimes hear voices others don’t hear, believe that others are broadcasting their thoughts to the world, or become convinced that others are plotting to harm them. These experiences can make them fearful and withdrawn and cause difficulties when they try to have relationships with others.

Why am I sounding like a medical practitioner or mental professional today? A few months ago, I was inspired to embark on a research on “Schizophrenia” and its impact in our Society. Thus, I found myself in the first point of call- The Yaba Psychiatric Hospital, for such an elaborate project. I was astounded by the crowd I met at the reception. At a point I turned to the security guard to confirm if I was in the right place and he replied in affirmative.

I was really shocked to have found so many patients at the Psychiatric hospital. Judging by face value, most of the patients were from rich homes, confirming that the rich also cry. But then, reconsidering that phenomenon, it is possible that it is only the rich and a selected few of an average family that are aware of the need for a professional medical treatment for Psychotic conditions. For example, a couple brought in their daughter who was about thirteen years old. The little girl had marks all over her body. According to their report, the marks (physical abuse) were inflicted upon her by a spiritualists from whom they were initially seeking help before they were advised by some knowledgeable good Samaritans to take their daughter for medical treatment.

From this experience, I observed that most people often treat Psychotic cases as spiritual. The patients are stigmatized with all sorts of myths by friends and love ones who ought to seek for help. I also noted that Psychiatric cases seems to be on the rise (perhaps due to economic recession?). Many mentally ill people do not know where to find help, thus they roam about aimlessly until they finally loose connection. At least, we still have hope that patients with mental illness can find medical treatment at Yaba Psychiatric Hospital (with professional competencies). But is this enough intervention?

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