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Opinion
 

Exempt these young men from NS

Suicide of NSF with schizophrenia raises question of whether those with this serious affliction should enlist

Published on Apr 15, 2014 11:18 PM
 
-- ST ILLUSTRATION: ADAM LEE

Schizophrenia used to be thought of as a psychological disorder brought on by cold, uncaring mothers. But that was a terrible misconception because it is really an organic neurological disorder with psychological symptoms.

Because some brain circuitry is improperly tuned, the individual's thoughts are disconnected from reality. His inner world is altered, which is why his behaviour changes, depending on whether the disease is in a passive or acute phase.

During the passive stage, he may be socially withdrawn. He can't say how he feels, and fails to take care of himself. He may be anxious, depressed, even suicidal. At this stage, he may be easily misunderstood, appearing to others as a dishevelled, lazy good-for-nothing.

During an acute bout of schizophrenia, however, his bizarre behaviour will be unmistakable and may alarm those around him.

 
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Background story

Lifelong brain disorder

A person with schizophrenia needs powerful drugs to keep his condition in check. He requires medication for life and is never cured. Acute bouts recur if he stops taking his medication when he feels better.