Schizophrenia, An Opportunity to Love


Do you know someone who seems like he or she has “lost touch” with reality? Does this person talk about “hearing voices” no one else can? Does he or she see or feel things no one else can? Does this person believe things that aren’t true?

Sometimes people with these symptoms have schizophrenia, a serious illness.

What is schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a serious brain illness. Many people with schizophrenia are disabled by their symptoms.

People with schizophrenia 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. The disorder makes it hard for them to keep a job or take care of themselves.

Who gets schizophrenia?

Anyone can develop schizophrenia. It affects men and women equally in all ethnic groups. Teens can also develop schizophrenia. In rare cases, children have the illness too.

When does it start?

Symptoms of schizophrenia usually start between ages 16 and 30. Men often develop symptoms at a younger age than women. People usually do not get schizophrenia after age 45.

What causes schizophrenia?

Several factors may contribute to schizophrenia, including:

  • Genes, because the illness runs in families
  • The environment, such as viruses and nutrition problems before birth
  • Different brain structure and brain chemistry.

Scientists have learned a lot about schizophrenia. They are identifying genes and parts of the brain that may play a role in the illness. Some experts think the illness begins before birth but doesn’t show up until years later. With more study, researchers may be able to predict who will develop schizophrenia.

What are the symptoms of schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia symptoms range from mild to severe. There are three main types of symptoms.

1. Positive symptoms refer to a distortion of a person’s normal thinking and functioning. They are “psychotic” behaviors. People with these symptoms are sometimes unable to tell what’s real from what is imagined. Positive symptoms include:

  • Hallucinations: when a person sees, hears, smells, or feels things that no one else can. “Hearing voices” is common for people with schizophrenia. People who hear voices may hear them for a long time before family or friends notice a problem.
  • Delusions: when a person believes things that are not true. For example, a person may believe that people on the radio and television are talking directly to him or her. Sometimes people believe that they are in danger-that other people are trying to hurt them.
  • Thought disorders: ways of thinking that are not usual or helpful. People with thought disorders may have trouble organizing their thoughts. Sometimes a person will stop talking in the middle of a thought. And some people make up words that have no meaning.
  • Movement disorders: may appear as agitated body movements. A person with a movement disorder may repeat certain motions over and over. In the other extreme, a person may stop moving or talking for a while, a rare condition called “catatonia.”

2. Negative symptoms refer to difficulty showing emotions or functioning normally. When a person with schizophrenia has negative symptoms, it may look like depression. People with negative symptoms may:

  • Talk in a dull voice
  • Show no facial expression, like a smile or frown
  • Have trouble having fun
  • Have trouble planning and sticking with an activity, like grocery shopping
  • Talk very little to other people, even when they need to.

3. Cognitive symptoms are not easy to see, but they can make it hard for people to have a job or take care of themselves. Cognitive symptoms include:

  • Trouble using information to make decisions
  • Problems using information immediately after learning it
  • Trouble paying attention.

 

Helpful Links for Further Thought 

Source, NIMH: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/index.shtml

http://www.mcculloughsite.net/stingray/2006/02/15/christianity-and-mental-illness.php

http://xrysostom.blogspot.com/2005/06/can-mentally-ill-people-go-to-heaven.html

 

 

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Misjudging Jesus

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“The next Sabbath he began teaching in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. They asked, “Where did he get all this wisdom and the power to perform such miracles?”

Mark 6:2

Amazement was typically the response Jesus had on the people who crossed His path.  They had apparently evaluated Him, and His words, His wonders and still could not figure Him out.  They knew of His youth, saw Him and knew Him to be the son of a local carpenter.  There was certainly nothing there to consider or suggest anything more.  It was like being the son of the neighborhood mechanic.

He quickly pursues an effort to teach the Word of God, and that becomes Jesus’ platform to announce the Kingdom.  It is a small beginning, but suddenly the supernatural shows up. People are getting healed.  Amazement obviously follows. Questions get asked, and amazement starts to turn to worship for some.  And others, well there is almost always a point were they arrive at in their thinking, but sadly they can advance no further.  They will even ask those critical questions; where did this come from?  What is causing these miracles to happen, and why is His teaching which is so profound?

Today, we are still trying to figure Him out.  So few of us reach through far enough to touch Him.  There is a revelation that must happen before we can really see and understand.  It is one thing to be amazed, and quite the other to be transformed.

Please do not misjudge Jesus.  Do not evaluate Him and pass your verdict on Him, making quick and irrevocable decisions that haven’t really been thought through.  Keep asking yourself, “Who is Jesus?” And then listen very closely to the truth that awaits you.

ybic, Bryan

 

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Seek Out the Gold

In the vault of the Holy Spirit
“He returned to Nazareth, his hometown. When he taught there in the synagogue, everyone was amazed and said, “Where does he get this wisdom and the power to do miracles?”
Matthew 13:54, NLT

 

Chapter 13 of Matthew is your very own gold mine.  There are veins of precious ore throughout these parables.  They will give their riches to anyone humble enough to seek them.  They each are concentrated truth–these parables are gold!

Parables are a fascinating way to impart teaching that requires a quiet and gentle heart.  Not everyone will gain access to them.  The truth in them will only touch the hungry heart, the real seeker.  It’s like they are locked up, and the Holy Spirit has the combination, but He will gladly share it with the sincere heart.

At this point in Jesus’ ministry, He arrives in His hometown.  He goes to the synagogue and begins to teach. (What an awesome time to be in the congregation.)  Their teacher Jesus is absolutely astounding!  They stand and watch Him; they are astonished and amazed.  The text tells us that Jesus not only taught them, but He performed supernatural healings.

The people in Nazareth who were witnesses in such a direct way, begin to draw false conclusions about Jesus.  They can’t deal with His youth and can’t believe what He has come from God–as their Messiah. 

However the general consensus was profound;  “everyone” was in agreement with what they had just witnessed.  For a few, they would never be the same.  When we encounter Jesus, and hear His wisdom, and see His wonders–it has the power to change us.  And that is no mean feat.