Hearing voices, paranoia, irrational and angry thoughts, these are just some of the symptoms people with schizophrenia deal with. More than 2.6 million Americans are living with it right now. There is no cure and treatment involves medication and therapy, but more than 40 percent of people living do not seek help.
There are many questions as to what causes it. Ivanhoe talked to one woman whose family is speaking out about their lifelong journey through mental illness and how they’re helping researchers get to the root of the problem.
These are the Galvins — 10 boys and two girls. Good looks run in the family and so does schizophrenia.
“Every one of us spent a good portion of our lives fearing,” Lindsay Rauch told Ivanhoe.
Lindsay is the youngest and watched as one brother after another fell victim.
Six out of ten brothers were diagnosed.
Lindsay vocalized, “Some of my most vivid, early childhood memories are of his illness.”
“Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of An American Family “details what it was like for the Galvin family.
“It is traumatic to watch somebody really struggling with paranoid delusions,” Lindsay remarked.
In the 1950s, researchers blamed it on over or under-parenting. Now, doctors believe it’s a combination of genes and environment.
“Some of those environmental factors include exposure to toxins, substance use, some in-utero complications, such as malnutrition or exposure to a disease or virus,” stated Susan Albers-Bowling, PsyD, a psychologist at The Cleveland Clinic.
There’s a wide range of early warning signs.
“Some of these symptoms can be very subtle and unfortunately, family members sometimes chalk it up to stress, family life transition,” affirmed Albers-Bowling.
Donald Rauch suffered delusions, at one point running straight into a bonfire.
“He was having major hallucinations that there were people, and he said, ‘CIA outside the home.’ It’s really quite remarkable that these people even can function as little as they do,” noted Lindsay.
Lindsay hopes her commitment to finding answers will help thousands of other families, as well as future generations of her own family.
Three of the Galvin brothers are deceased; two died from heart complications associated with the illness, and another in a murder-suicide.
You’ll be seeing more of the Galvin family soon as Charlize Theron has contacted Lindsay and is creating a miniseries to raise awareness of schizophrenia.
If you or someone you know are experiencing signs of schizophrenia, call 1-800-273-talk or 911.