American Schizophrenia Association (ASA)

About Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a disabling disorder with no known cure, that crosses all ethnic, gender, and international lines.  It may surprise you to learn that Schizophrenia claims 100,000 new victims in the USA alone each year.   And that most of it’s victims are young people just entering adulthood.  In the USA 100,000 victims a year is more people disabled by disease than all but just 3 forms of cancer (Lung, Breast, Colorectal), and heart disease.  By way of comparison ALS/Lou Gehrig’s Disease is quite rare, with just 5000 cases in the US each year.  And Muscular Dystrophy is microscopic, weighing in at only 500 new patients per year!  While late onset neuropathy diseases like ALS and Multiple Sclerosis (also rare at only 5000 cases annually) are generally  ‘Old Persons’ diseases striking in middle-age and beyond, Schizophrenia is a YOUNG PERSON’S DISEASE striking down teenagers and young adults between age 15-25.  Schizophrenia disrupts and destroys mental stability just as our kids are ready to embark on productive adult lives. It’s cause is unknown, but current bio-medical research focuses on brain chemistry study.  Schizophrenia is what the average person might recognize as the classic, media portrayed form of what we generically term ‘Insanity’.  It’s victims suffer a sharp break with reality, as expressed in symptomology including psychosis, paranoia, hallucinations, hearing voices, rushing thoughts, bizarre thinking, and bizarre actions.  It comes in variant sub-forms, the ‘schizoid spectrum’ of disease, and the derangement of behavior and thought is  not uniform, but  gradient in extremity and typically worsening over time. Perhaps the most insidious aspect of the disease is that sufferers typically fail to recognize themselves as being ill.  The victims of Schizophrenia commonly, and irrationally believe they are the target of an inexplicable conspiracy waged against them by their Doctors, parents, and friends, who are lying about the diagnosis.  Consequently victims of Schizophrenia frequently refuse medication and care, except during periods of hospitalization in the downward spiral of psychosis.  The drug therapy offered to sufferers is largely palliative, to depress the reactions of the sufferer (using Thorazine, Haldol, Zyprexa, Seroquel, Risperdal, etc) which produce an effect often described as ‘numbed out’ or ‘zombified’.  In their drive for freedom, from hospitalization and emotion numbing drugs, many victims of this most cruel disease choose a life on the streets, where they are socially ostracized and exist without livelihood or means of support.  They can be found on skid row and living under freeway overpasses in cities all across America, where they’re routinely criminally victimized as a voiceless segment of the Homeless population.  In this bleak scenario, victims of Schizophrenia are driven to alcohol and drug abuse in a search for peace, and as an escape from the turmoil of their own minds.  The victims of Schizophrenia have a significantly below average life expectancy and suffer the HIGHEST SUICIDE RATE of all illness groups.  For anyone to imagine  that Schizophrenia is ‘not their problem’, is foolish.  Since the government deregulation & privatization movement of the 1980’s led to reductions in capacity or closure of many of the institutions providing treatment and shelter for the mentally ill in our communities, the fate of the mentally ill has become a public health issue.  Short sighted political efforts to ‘save money’ in government budgets by converting victims of mental illness from institutional to outpatient status has resulted in the cost of the problem of mental illness being shifted to over-strained public services (Medicare, Emergency Rooms, Fire & Rescue, Police, etc), resulting in higher, not lower net costs to the taxpaying public.  Culturally, the social cost of raising a generation in a less humane and more profane public climate is unacceptable to most Americans as compassionate and socially responsible people.  The way forward is to eliminate the scourge of Schizophrenia from modern life altogether.  We are committed, and determined to find A CURE IN OUR LIFETIME wth your help, and the help of millions of people just like you.