UAE: Woman with schizophrenia gets life back on track, thanks to Abu Dhabi doctors

Schizophrenia is a complex and chronic mental illness that affects how an individual thinks, behaves, and feels.


A Staff Reporter

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Published: Tue 1 Feb 2022, 2:41 PM

After struggling with delusions and hallucinations, a 43-year-old woman managed to get her life back on track and even earn her business degree, thanks to a team of specialists at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City (SKMC) in Abu Dhabi.

When the woman started experiencing severe emotional disturbances, she was encouraged to seek mental health support from SKMC, a facility operated by the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (Seha).

“The patient received support from the Behavioural Sciences Pavilion (BSP) at SKMC in 2010 and was diagnosed with chronic schizophrenia, a severe mental health disorder that causes people to have abnormal experiences of reality,” said Dr Ala Alnaqbi, specialist psychiatrist at BSP.

With the support of SKMC’s rehabilitation team and her family, the patient went back to school to complete her education. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration in September 2020 and celebrated her accomplishment with the medical team that had been by her side every step of the way.

Schizophrenia is a complex and chronic mental illness that affects how an individual thinks, behaves, and feels. According to the World Health Organisation, it affects 20 million people worldwide but is not as common as many other mental disorders. Among the most common symptoms are hallucinations, delusions, disorganised thinking, and disturbances to an individual’s emotional state.

While people with schizophrenia require lifelong treatment, early treatment may help get symptoms under control before serious complications develop. One of the biggest issues when it comes to mental disorders, such as schizophrenia, is often the lack of awareness, the specialist added.

“Affected individuals find it difficult to identify the signs and get help, so family and friends often have to step in. Offering support and help can go a long way. At Seha, we have a highly experienced team of psychiatric physicians, nurses and social workers who focus on providing an accurate diagnosis and developing the best treatment plan,” said Dr Alnaqbi.

To support communities across Abu Dhabi, Seha offers a range of comprehensive mental health services within its network, including SKMC, Al Ain Hospital and Ambulatory Healthcare Services (AHS). This is in addition to a telehealth psychiatry clinic for patients in Al Dhafra.

It provides outpatient and inpatient services with a focus on child and adolescent psychotherapy, adult psychiatry, addiction counselling, marital counselling, burn-out counselling and bereavement counselling. This is in addition to support groups, cognitive assessments and specialist clinics, including those for divorce, life crisis, work-related stress, eating disorders, and mental health issues related to Covid-19.

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