A report by the Work Foundation has found that tens of thousands of people with schizophrenia are being denied the chance to work because of “severe discrimination”.
Only eight per cent of people with schizophrenia are in paid employment, compared with 71 per cent of the general population, although many more would like a job, states the report.
Seven out of 10 people with schizophrenia feel that they experience discrimination because of their condition. The report blames a lack of understanding, stigma, fear and discrimination towards people with schizophrenia and calls for urgent government action to prioritise work as part of the recovery for those with mental illnesses.
People with schizophrenia in paid employment are over five times more likely to achieve remission from their condition than those who are unemployed or in unpaid employment, according to the report, Working with Schizophrenia.
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Schizophrenia is a severe brain disorder, affecting the sufferer’s ability to think clearly and decipher fantasy from reality. The disorder may develop gradually and it may therefore take a while for the individual, or their family, to realise anything is wrong. Schizophrenia seems to develop at an earlier age in men (late teens to early twenties) than women, who are generally affected in their twenties to early thirties.
Most people suffer either chronically or episodically from the disorder throughout their lives, enduring terrifying symptoms such as hearing voices that others cannot hear and believing others are plotting against them and reading their thoughts.
Early warning signs of schizophrenia
The following list is not exhaustive and none of these symptoms alone constitute the disorder. However, if several signs are present and behaviour has changed and persisted over a few weeks then proffessional advice should be sought:
Difficulty concentrating, suspision, fearfulness, unusual emotional reactions, isolation and withdrawal, difficulty sleeping, lack of social relationships, lack of personal hygiene, gazing, staring, difference in words or language structure, unordinary behaviour.
The causes of schizophrenia
Causes of schizophrenia are still not known. However research is continuing and scientists have found that brains of people with schizophrenia differ, as a whole, from the brains of people without the disorder. These differences are quite subtle and are not characteristic of all people with schizophrenia, nor do they appear only in those with schizophrenia. Thus further research is crucial to develop our understanding of the disorder.
As with many other medical illnesses, the result of genetic, environmental and behavioural factors are also thought to play a role in the cause of schizophrenia
Treatment of schizophrenia
Although there is currently no known cure, anti-psychotic medication and counselling/psychotherapy are used to control and manage the positive symptoms of Schizophrenia. Full recovery may occur but should not be expected, as most people with schizophrenia continue to suffer with some symptoms throughout their lives. However, some people do just get better on their own.