How to Treat Schizophrenia and Autism Essay

Total Length: 924 words ( 3 double-spaced pages)

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Mental Illness vs. Developmental Disabilities

Saks (2009) displayed symptoms of schizophrenia while Kirtland (n.d.) displayed symptoms of autism. Saks would have auditory and visual hallucinations, have thoughts that were completely disconnected from reality, exhibit confused thinking, and sometimes completely breakdown and be unable to function in any capacity. Kirtland lacked the ability to effectively socialize or connect in a typical “human” way: he did not want attention, to be held, to cuddle as a child, and lacked social understanding to be able to make friends outside his immediate circle or to hold a long-term job. Saks’ (2009) case was different from Kirtland’s (n.d.) in that hers was much more immersed in having a mental illness whereas Kirtland was experiencing a developmental disorder. Saks had to cope with her thoughts being outside of her control, while Kirtland had to cope with not having developed the typical sense of self that enables people to adjust in society effectively.

Mental Illness and Stigma

Society tends to stigmatize mental illness because it does not understand it and as a result it fears it. People do tend to fear what they do not understand, and mental illness is often associated with dangerous outbursts—though as Saks (2009) points out, people who abuse drugs are typically far more dangerous and lethal to others than are individuals who suffer from a mental illness. The stigma is different for those who have mental illness versus those who have developmental disabilities: for example, Saks was forcibly restrained but went on to show that she could still work, while Kirtland was never forcibly restrained but was socially restrained in that he could never get a full-time job—so the stigmas operate differently in terms of how people approach individuals who have mental illness of developmental disorders.

The Impact of Stigma

The stigma that Saks felt caused her to want to avoid treatment. She felt shamed by her loss of privacy, her forcible detainment, and of her own condition. Kirtland felt socially isolated and tried hard to make new friends but failed because he was not really understanding his own self. The same happened with Saks: there was a moment when both had to just accept themselves for who they were and then they could begin to live their lives and not feel so constrained by their respective illness or disorder.

Personal Qualities That Help

Saks found that her ability to keep active and to use her mind to study and teach has always helped to be overcome her personal challenges. She showed resilience by not allowing her illness to handicap her. She never demonstrated apathy or withdrawal and….....

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Kirtland, A. (n.d.). Growing up undiagnosed Early signs of autism. The National Autistic Society. Accessed at on November 25, 2017.

Saks, E. (2009). Diary of a High-Functioning Person with Schizophrenia. Scientific
American. Accessed at on November 25, 2017.


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