Last week, Amanda Bynes was hospitalized in Los Angeles after setting fire to an elderly woman’s driveway and soaking her dog in gasoline. Though sad and disturbing, this finally gave police enough reason to hospitalize her on a 5150 hold to undergo a 72-hour psychiatric evaluation. During Amanda’s first few hours in the hospital, sources say she was exhibiting signs of schizophrenia so doctors upped her to a 5250 hold that will keep her for two weeks while they treat her.
Amanda had filed for a hearing to argue that she was being held illegally, but she cancelled the hearing. She admitted that she needed time for her medication to kick in, which is a good sign. Her parents are also trying to get temporary conservatorship over Amanda, much in the same vein as Britney Spears’ family, because they believe she currently cannot care for herself or her funds. The judge denied the request until he has more information regarding her case.
I wanted to take some time to talk about schizophrenia and mental illnesses. I feel like people are so afraid to talk about mental health, and it still carries such a stigma. That really sucks, you guys. If you had a heart condition or any other problem with your body, people can talk about it. But the second we get to the brain, everyone freaks out and doesn’t want to acknowledge it.
Hi, my name is Caitlin, and I have anxiety. It is a mental health problem. I am dealing with it.
Amanda Bynes, although we do not have an official diagnosis, has some kind of mental health problem. And she is now getting the help that she needs, which is so great. As sad as her situation has been in recent months, I’m grateful that she is finally getting help and that maybe we can talk more openly about these issues.
According to The National Institute of Mental Health, “People with the disorder may hear voices other people don’t hear. They may believe other people are reading their minds, controlling their thoughts, or plotting to harm them. This can terrify people with the illness and make them withdrawn or extremely agitated.
People with schizophrenia may not make sense when they talk. They may sit for hours without moving or talking. Sometimes people with schizophrenia seem perfectly fine until they talk about what they are really thinking.”
Schizophrenia is genetic and affects about 1% of Americans. It is a scary and intense psychiatric illness that can be difficult to diagnose, especially in young people. “Symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions usually start between ages 16 and 30. Men tend to experience symptoms a little earlier than women.”
Symptoms and signs of schizophrenia are terrifying. They include hallucinations, “Many people with the disorder hear voices. The voices may talk to the person about his or her behavior, order the person to do things, or warn the person of danger. Sometimes the voices talk to each other.” Schizophrenics may also have delusions, which are “false beliefs that are not part of the person’s culture and do not change. The person believes delusions even after other people prove that the beliefs are not true or logical.” They may also suffer from thought disorders like thought blocking, “When a person stops speaking abruptly in the middle of a thought. When asked why he or she stopped talking, the person may say that it felt as if the thought had been taken out of his or her head.”
No matter how scary, though, schizophrenia is treatable. There is no cure yet, but there are many medications available to treat the symptoms and to allow those with the illness to live normal, healthy lives without these debilitating symptoms.
If you know someone with a mental illness, it can be easy to distance yourself from them. But people suffering from mental illnesses need love and support, just like people suffering from other illnesses. They might not want to talk about it, or maybe they will. Just be there and don’t be afraid of them. People with mental illnesses are still people. It doesn’t mean they’re crazy, it means they have an illness and need treatment.
Do you know anyone with a mental illness? Do you know anyone who specifically has schizophrenia? Do you suffer from a mental illness? What do you wish people knew? Tell us in the comments!