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Reflections of a Mom on Paranoid Schizophrenia

Personality Destroyed

     I ended my last post (The Beginning) with a description of schizophrenia as an “awful life sucking brain disease”—however, it would have been more accurate to describe it as an awful personality sucking brain disease.  Although it does destroy a person’s life if left untreated, the more heinous thing schizophrenia does is destroy who and what a person is—when medication is refused. 

     This doesn’t happen all at once- but slowly and gradually, at different rates for different traits.  It took longer for some things to disappear in my son, while others were destroyed much earlier in the disease.  For N (my son) one of the first things to go was his sense of humor (a close second was any display of affection); while his demonstration of common courtesy (such as saying “thank you” and “please”) along with his sense of responsibility, and willingness and desire to help others was one of the last things to disappear.

    Who and what N once was is now gone.  His personality no longer exists (at least outwardly, but I’m hopeful that it’s still a part of his brain and not chemically destroyed).   His individual spark has been doused. He now bears no resemblance to who he was before this awful disease started. 

     Schizophrenia has eliminated any sign of the original personality and temperament that made him N.

     And the worse thing: N doesn’t even realize that this drastic change has occurred.


     I am broken hearted. 

     I have an adult son who has a disease. 

     It is not an illness, such as a cold or the flu, that someone recovers from.  It is a disease--one which is chronic and disabling.  It takes over and destroys.

     My son has what is commonly called a mental illness.  I consider it a brain disease.  A chemical imbalance (one of several theories) cause the brain to misfire and messages in the brain get mixed up.  He has a type (one of four) of schizophrenia (which means broken mind). 

     Schizophrenia reminds me of epilepsy.  Both are caused by the brain misfiring.  With epilepsy there is a loss of control over one's body.  With schizophrenia there is a loss or disintegration of one's thought processes. Both are devastating.

     What makes my heart sick is that while there is no cure for schizophrenia, there is medication that is effective in managing the delusions (beliefs or ideas that are false) and hallucinations (the most common is hearing voices) that are symptoms of schizophrenia.  But my son refuses to take this medication. 

     My son has paranoid schizophrenia.  So in addition to his mind functions being robbed and his ability to have rational thought destroyed, he is also suspicious and paranoid.  His personality has slowing disappeared, and is now replaced by a world of delusions, voices, and paranoia.