Most schizophrenics seek medical help late: Docs

With over a 100 new cases of schizophrenia reported in the last one year,the Department of Psychiatry of Government Medical College and Hospital in Sector 32 has undertaken a study on the treatment pattern of the patients.

Written by Neelam Sharma | Chandigarh | Published:February 19, 2009 1:54 am

GMCH undertakes study on treatment pattern

With over a 100 new cases of schizophrenia reported in the last one year,the Department of Psychiatry of Government Medical College and Hospital in Sector 32 has undertaken a study on the treatment pattern of the patients.

Doctors are gathering data to know at what stage of a mental disorder,especially schizophrenia,do patients come to hospitals. Their premise is that the patients spend the early stages substantially with quacks or faith healers before they decide to seek professional help.

Schizophrenia is a psychiatric diagnosis in which mental disorder is characterised by impairments in perception or expression of reality or hallucinations.

“Patients and their relatives find it difficult to recognise schizophrenia. That is why we observe that in most cases the patients first approach faith healers and it is much later that the actual treatment begins,” says Dr B S Chavan,head of the Department of Psychiatry.

Doctors say patients seldom approach them directly with the problem. It is only the family members who observe some abnormality and then bring the patient to a doctor.

“We not only aim to study the number of patients who go to faith healers but also want to find the extent of inhuman treatment they are subjected to at these places,” adds Dr Chavan. While there has not been any comprehensive study on the exact number of schizophrenia patients in the city,figures at the GMCH are alarming. From January to December 2008,as many as 101 new patients were registered at its department.

The number was one-fifth of the total new registrations at the department (525).

In 2007,old schizophrenia patients and the new registrations totalled to 284 in the department.

What is schizophrenia?

A schizophrenia patient is typically characterised as demonstrating disorganised thinking and experiencing delusions or auditory hallucinations. Schizophrenics also undergo significant social or occupational dysfunction. The disorder can contribute to chronic problems with behaviour and emotions. The patient may also develop loss of memory and impairment in social cognition.

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