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Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist talks of his struggle to save schizophrenic sons

Posted on 05-30-2017 Posted in Schizophrenia - 0 Comments

Ron Powers, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and father of two sons with schizophrenia, is familiar with the pain and frustration that accompanies the mental disorder and stigma surrounding it. With an intimate understanding of issues confronting American families grappling with mental illnesses, his new book, “No One Cares About Crazy People: The Chaos and Heartbreak of Mental Health in America,” talks about how a psychiatric disorder is viewed in the United States.

According to Powers, his book is a result of a 2010 newspaper investigation of the Milwaukee County Hospital’s psychiatric wing. While patients at the hospital were being ill-treated, the country’s response was not to clear up the problem and rescue these helpless people but to protect from scrutiny the officer in charge. Furthermore, his son’s death launched Powers on a mission to change the prevailing attitudes on mental health in the country. In his preface, Powers writes, “I hope you do not ‘enjoy’ this book. I hope you are wounded by it; wounded as I have been in writing it. Wounded to act, to intervene.”

On losing son to schizophrenia

According to Powers, there is no greater feeling of helplessness than to see one’s two beloved children battling schizophrenia and not knowing what to do to help them. In 2005, just before his 21st birthday, Powers’ younger son Kevin, whose struggle with schizophrenia began when he was 17, ended his life. A few years later, Powers’ other son Dean also started experiencing schizophrenia symptoms and had a psychotic break out on Christmas Day in 2012. After a few months, Dean tried to drown himself. While Dean is undergoing therapy and doing well, many people with schizophrenia don’t receive the much-needed treatment.

In his book, Powers discusses how mental illness affected his two sons and the history on how people with mental illness are treated in the U.S. For 10 years, Powers avoided writing this book to protect the privacy of his family and fearing that no one wanted to read about it. However, with the support of his wife and surviving child, Powers decided to tell his story.

Schizophrenia: A severe mental illness

Schizophrenia is a chronic disorder that affects how a person thinks, acts and feels. It is characterized by a combination of emotional, behavioral and cognitive dysfunctions. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), though the mental disorder affects less than 1 percent of the general population, it occurs in 10 percent of people whose close relative, such as a parent, brother or sister, has the disorder.

The earlier symptoms of schizophrenia are usually less severe. However, when left untreated, the symptoms progress and become worse over time. Some of these include hallucinations, delusions, trouble focusing and a problem with working memory. While there is no cure for the illness, the goal of schizophrenia treatment is to reduce the symptoms and decrease chances of a relapse. A comprehensive schizophrenia treatment involves medications, psychotherapy or a combination of both.

Road to recovery

A leading mental health care provider, Sovereign Health offers behavioral treatment programs for both men and women affected by psychiatric illnesses, including schizophrenia, as well as substance abuse and co-occurring disorders.

As part of schizophrenia treatment programs, patients at Sovereign Health of Florida receive evidence-based and alternative therapies to help manage their symptoms and improve their cognitive functioning and overall well-being. For more information on our various treatment programs or to know about our finest schizophrenia treatment facilities near you, please call our 24/7 helpline number or chat online and speak to our admission specialist today.

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Sovereign Health Group is a leading addiction, dual diagnosis and mental health treatment provider. Call our admissions team 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to get the help you deserve.

The dual diagnosis program was what attracted me to Sovereign Health. My therapist was always open for discussion and the group sessions were very informative and educational.

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