It was in the middle of his sophomore year when Ron Oelberg, my uncle, had the mental breakdown that forever changed his life. On an early, extremely cold winter morning in northern Iowa, Ron walked out of the farm house in only his underwear, through the large cornfield, and down to the Yellow River that was frozen over with a thin layer of ice. Luckily, his parents caught him in time before he had fallen through the thin ice. Ron was soon rushed to a mental institution where he was observed by psychiatrists that later diagnosed him with disorganized schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a severe chronic mental disorder that causes people to live in an alternate “universe” inside of his or her head. There are different types of schizophrenia that have different symptoms from one another and different causes of the disorder, but thankfully there are medicines that can help ease some of the symptoms.
Schizophrenia is defined as a “group of severe mental disorders characterized by reality distortions resulting in unusual thought patterns and behaviors,” according to the online article “ “Schizophrenia,” written by W.F. Gattaz in “Schizophrenia.” Schizophrenia is often confused with multiple personality disorder, but that is a completely different disorder. It is different because multiple personality is where the person acquires multiple personalities, but in schizophrenia, the person is living in a different reality in his head. Many people with schizophrenia experience delusions, hallucinations, uncontrolled laughing, and disordered thinking and behavior (Gattaz).
Although the causes are yet unknown, the online article “Schizophrenia,” written by The National Institute of Mental Health, claims that “scientists have long known that schizophrenia runs in families,” which shows that genetics do play a factor in the passing down the disorder through generations. Also, scientists think that no one gene is responsible for schizophrenia itself, but it is many mutated genes that cause the mental disorder. Researchers say that in order for the gene to “trigger” the disorder to take root in the person, he or she must have “exposure to viruses or malnutrition before birth, or even during birth. Also, environmental factors may play a factor in triggering the condition, such as extreme amount of stress. For Ron Oelberg, it may have been the harsh varsity wrestling coach according to his older brother, Thomas.
“Schizophrenia is a chronic condition, requiring lifelong treatment,” in accordance to the online article “Schizophrenia,” authored by the Mayo Clinic Staff. Even though it is a lifelong condition, the illness does not start at birth usually, it is rare for children to develop schizophrenia and rarer for adults over the age of forty-five to develop the disorder. The average age in men when the disorder starts to develop is around the late teens or early twenties. In women, the age is usually a little later, when they are in their late twenties or early...