Schizophrenia: One Family's Burden

First Ed Beale's mother, then his son developed schizophrenia. How tragedy gave way to love

Schizophrenia is the most personally destructive and least understood of all the major mental illnesses. Its principal hallmark is extremely disordered thinking--the kind that robs many of its victims of the ability to keep a job, maintain a relationship or even hold a coherent conversation. The first serious symptoms typically begin sometime after puberty, in the late teens or 20s. Some but not all schizophrenics suffer hallucinations. Some but not all schizophrenics hear voices. The cause is undeniably physical--perhaps the unhappy combination of a genetic predisposition and an infection suffered in the womb. In any event, it's clear that the results...

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