Losing a job or dropping out of college is one of the most stressful events of life. But witnessing your career declining or being not able to work and study as a result of mental disease is surely a very big emotional and psychological trauma for one. Schizophrenia is one kind of mental illness that can lead to unemployment and discontinuing education. Schizophrenia is a chronic and severe mental disorder that affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves. It can be caused by genetics, neurobiological, environmental, and substance abuse causes. Worldwide about 1 percent of the population is diagnosed with schizophrenia. About 1.5% of the population in Pakistan is suffering from this condition.
People attach stigmas with mentally ill patients, these lead to joblessness and discontinuing education, there is a perception that people with mental illness are violent, look different from others, and can never get better or can not be productive members of society. In my personal opinion, environmental triggers like unemployment, dropping out of college or school can exaggerate the symptoms, studying, working, or engaging in activities help them to support themselves, there can be a decrease in stress which can help them lower their symptoms.
I think that working and being able to take care of yourself in such a mental illness can reduce agitation and aggression and can boost self-esteem which can also lower the triggers for symptoms. So my reason to select this topic for my scholarly article is to create awareness that schizophrenic patients can work and get an education if given proper therapies, teaching, and support. Causes of how schizophrenia affects functioning especially in professional life. Affects emotional, social, personal, cognitive, family aspects of life ( in scholarly will explain in detail).
The below-mentioned causes make it difficult for patients to continue with their careers:
- Unpredictable behavior
- Socially isolated
- Loss of social and communication skills
- Being perceived as violent
- The decline in memory especially working memory
- Poor judgments and insight
- Picking up fights
- Difficulty being organized.
- Impaired attention
Views and Theories Regarding Cause of Schizophrenia
The psychodynamic view of schizophrenia
Schizophrenia is a result of the disintegration of the ego. As per Freudians, a weak ego can be a result of an abnormal upbringing. This causes the ego to be finished resulting in handing over powers to the id. They then lose contact with the real world and leave their fantasies out for the world to see
The behaviorist view of schizophrenia
Interaction with the environment teaches a person behavior. It is possible that people learn to show symptoms by observing other schizophrenic people. Operant processes play a role that is this behavior might be positively reinforced or it might be negatively
Studying and working as a schizophrenic patient
Schizophrenia is associated with considerable disability and may affect educational and occupational performance (WHO, 2018). Focusing and maintaining attention is difficult for such patients due to symptoms such as delirium and disorganized thinking. Many people find that returning to study is a useful transition between living on benefits and the world of work and provides a way of re-discovering their sense of value in themselves. It can help you to rebuild your self-esteem and self-worth. Stigma in Pakistan suggests that holding onto education and job is too much for a schizophrenic patient. However, WHO supports that employment is an effective management strategy. People feel better about themselves if they’re doing something productive. Working hard, receiving a paycheck, and being able to support themselves can improve quality of life and reduce the risk of suicide for people with schizophrenia, Dr. Frederick J. Frese and Cecilia McGough are famous examples of schizophrenic patients who achieved their goals
International: According to a study in Norway there were 817 individuals out with schizophrenia who were employed and 413 who received age care pension. The employment rate (full time and part-time) among those of working age was 10.24%–10.5% of the men and 9.8% of the women.
A survey-based study of 4684 schizophrenia patients in Norway receiving outpatient care found that 5% had paid employment. Other Norwegian studies based on smaller samples have found employment rates between 4% and 13%.
Surveys suggest that the majority of Americans with schizophrenia want to be employed, but aren’t: Currently, around 85 percent are unemployed, while research shows that as many as 70 percent would prefer to work. The 45 percent acknowledged that they needed treatment but still were not receiving treatment cited many reasons for this, 20% of these said that it’s too expensive and they can’t afford it due to unemployment.
A recent survey reports that 47% of adults living with schizophrenia drop out of college, compared to the 27% college dropout rate in the U.S. overall.
Reflecting on these case scenarios and experiences from experts I understand that rehabilitation and therapies can help such patients to bring their lost skills back to some extend or learn new skills in order to be self-sufficient for themselves and in order to keep their confidence and self-worth intact.
Some therapies that can be useful are:
- Social recovery therapy: to help improve social skills and confidence in adolescents and young adults with early symptoms of, SRT help people adjust to work, education and leisure activities, include problem solving, improving verbal and nonverbal communication, respond to everyday social situations, and understanding and expressing appropriate emotions;
- Social skills training. This can train the patient for different kind of jobs by enhancing their communication and socialization skills;
- Rehabilitation may include job counseling, problem-solving support, and education in money management.
As a clinician, we play an important role in helping schizophrenic patients identify their interest, in helping them adjust to work and study environment. We can arrange workshops for patients as well as their families to educate them regarding the job opportunities in our country for the schizophrenic patients.
My recommendations are as follows:
- Stick with the medication regimen;
- The types of jobs or courses people with schizophrenia choose should be based on their personal skill sets and ability to function in the work environment;
- Tell your boss/teacher andclose coworkers about your condition so they can help you with symptom management in working hours. Avoid disclosing your diagnosis to every colleague to avoid feeling of discrimination, such things can trigger delusions;
- Family members and caregivers should support patients in adjusting to work and study environments.
Recommendation from literature:
- Whether or not a person discloses his or her diagnosis of schizophrenia to an employer is a decision that must be made by the individual on a case-by-case basis. Some employers may be willing to make special arrangements to fit the circumstances if they’re aware of such a diagnosis;
- Maintain contact with students and families after a diagnosis, and encourage the student’s return to school when their symptoms are stable;
- Ensure that there is a person with expertise/experience with mental illness on their disability services staff;
- Provide counseling and support services to assist in a student’s success when they re-enter school.
Schizophrenia affects the functioning of an individual, having a great impact on his or her professional life and development. It is difficult for patients to work and study as they used to before their disease process but proper therapies and care can help them work in an excellent manner and they can achieve their goals like any other normal person. As mentioned in the above content that proper therapies and care have been shown to be effective. A disease like schizophrenia should not come in way of your dreams and goals