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June 14, 2004
Schizophrenia Patient Working as NAMI Advocate
Read more... Schizophrenia Advocacy
Marc Stolzer was a bright and active college junior, an honors student and talented athlete at Penn State University, when he began to notice certain changes in his moods and behavior. These uncharacteristic patterns deteriorated rapidly into 'mental breaks from reality', or psychotic episodes involving visual and auditory hallucinations.
Stolzer's health forced him to withdraw from college, and he returned home to live with his parents, where he became even more withdrawn, isolated, and irrational. Finally, Stolzer's parents checked him into a hospital following a suicide attempt, where he was diagnosed with schizophrenia at the age of 21.
Doctors speculated that a past head injury from a bicycle accident may have been the trigger to his symptoms.
Even after beginning medication and a rehabilitation program, Stolzer said his psychotic symptoms and episodes continued to wax and wane. However, contrary to a commonly held stigma against the mentally ill, Stolzer says he never felt any violent impulses due to his condition.
"The stigma with schizophrenia is that people who have it are violent...most people with mental illness would rather hurt themselves than another per�son," Stolzer said.
With the help of medication, a support network of family and friends, and a long-term recovery phase, Stolzer has successfully controlled his psychotic symptoms.
"Thank God for the medication, because without it, I would not be productive," Stolzer said.
Now 46, Stolzer currently works with the National Institute for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) to dissolve such stigmas. He gives lectures to companies, medical professionals, schools, and other institutions to help spread understanding about how a mental illness affects a person, their life, and their actions. As well as educating the public, Stolzer also hopes to assist other mentally ill patients to integrate themselves back into life and society.
For the full article, please visit the NJ Sentinel
Posted by Julia at June 14, 2004 05:27 AM
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