Wednesday, March 19, 2014

NAMI Publications on Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness that affects more than 2 million adult American men and women. While the condition is rare in childhood, it can begin onset in the mid- to late teen years. Reading this brochure is an important first step to answering your questions and understanding recovery for people living with schizophrenia.

People living with schizophrenia have talents, goals and feelings just like anyone else. But, if left untreated, their illness can have a profoundly negative effect on their own lives, their families and their communities. Because the illness may cause unusual, inappropriate and sometimes unpredictable and disorganized behavior, people who are not effectively treated are often shunned and can become the targets of social prejudice. People living with schizophrenia may also face poverty, homelessness and high risk for suicide.

Lack of services has left many people living with schizophrenia inappropriately placed in jails and prisons. Medication, rehabilitation and other community-based supports can often help people living with schizophrenia lead meaningful, satisfying lives.

This brochure will explain the symptoms, discuss treatment options and explore the latest in schizophrenia research. You’ll also find information on where you can turn for medical care and find the support needed to manage this persistent illness.

Stay up-to-date on emerging research and treatments at

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is the nation's largest
grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives
for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. NAMI has more
than 1,100 State Organizations and Affiliates across the country that
engage in advocacy, research, support and education. Members are
families, friends and people living with mental illnesses such as major
depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder
(OCD), panic disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and borderline
personality disorder.

Written by Ken Duckworth, M.D. with additional input by Irving
Gottesman, Ph.D., and Charles Schulz, M.D. Copyright 2011 by the
National Alliance on Mental Illness. Copies of this publication can be
purchased at

NAMI, 3803 N. Fairfax Dr., Suite 100, Arlington VA 22203
HelpLine: 1 (800) 950-NAMI (6264)
Twitter: NAMICommunicate

Source -

Source - 

The survey results also reveal major gaps between what the public believes to be true about
schizophrenia, what science tell us, and the real experiences and realities of individuals affected by
the illness.
• Early intervention and treatment are critical to preventing long-term effects of the illness,
but there is an enormous delay, averaging 8.5 years, between first experiencing symptoms to
receiving treatment for schizophrenia.

• Many people with schizophrenia report that they have difficulty accessing other healthcare
services and do not receive proper attention to other health concerns; this may be one
reason why people with schizophrenia die on average 25 years sooner than the general

• Public familiarity with schizophrenia is low, and public concern and fear is high. People
recognize that it is a medical illness and that treatment works, presenting a paradox relative
to attitudes.
• The public feels differently about people in treatment than it feels about people not in
treatment; but still, to a large degree, people don’t want to date, work for, or work with
people with schizophrenia.

• Caregivers face many challenges in caring for their loved ones, both in terms of making sure
the person they care for has access to treatment and services, as well as taking care of
themselves. They report that they often feel isolated, lonely, worried, and burned out.

• Access to appropriate medications and services remains elusive for many, if not most,
families and individuals.

• In spite of the tremendous hardship of the personal experience, the resilience of the human
spirit emerges as one of hope, faith, and triumph for many.

Finally, NAMI’s analysis offers recommendations that narrow the knowledge gap by dispelling myths and promoting understanding and the potential for recovery:
• Increase public education and awareness
• Close the gap between onset of symptoms and treatment
• Provide ready access to primary healthcare
• Increase access to treatment and services, including housing
• Ensure education and support for families and individuals living with schizophrenia
• Invest in scientific and medical research advances

We must make a commitment to individual dignity and recognize that with proper treatment,
services, and supports, horizons for people living with the illness can be restored. It is time to make
recovery real.

Source -

Specifically, this research seeks to:
  •  Identify gaps in knowledge and understanding among the general adult public
  •  Establish a baseline of attitudes toward the illness and those living with it
  •  Understand the experiences of caregivers and individuals living with schizophrenia
  •  Identify areas where more or better services are needed for those living with schizophrenia
The results of this study will be used by NAMI to help raise awareness about schizophrenia with the goal of reducing the stigma associated with this condition and improve the care available to those living with it.