The man accused of driving his car into a crowd holding an anti-fascist protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 11, 2017, killing one woman and hurting at least 19 others, allegedly suffered from schizophrenia and was deeply influenced by Hitler, said one of his ex-teachers in school. James Alex Fields Jr., also stood out in school for his radical beliefs on race, said teacher Derek Weimer and Nazism deeply fascinated him.
According to the teacher, Fields was diagnosed with schizophrenia and was on anti-psychotic medication. Schizophrenia, a chronic and severe mental disorder, distorts an individual’s sense of reality. It affects a person’s thought, feeling and behavior. It may not be as common as other mental health conditions but for those who suffer from it, the symptoms can be quite disabling.
Accused leaned towards fascism
Fields remained an average student but he took great interest in military history, Hitler and Nazi Germany, said Weimer, who taught him social studies at Randall K Cooper School in Union, Kentucky. His sympathy towards Nazism would become apparent to anybody who would strike up a conversation with him. He also believed in white supremacy.
A few hours prior to the incident, photographers captured Fields carrying the emblem of Vanguard America, a hate group that instituted the “take America back” campaign. However, the group denied any allegiance or association with Fields. These hate groups have become quite an eyesore for the government and seriously corrode the social fabric of the country.
However, in this incident, it could be the debilitating mental disorder, which prompted him to launch such a heinous attack. Fields left school for a while and became a lot quieter after his return until his senior year, said his teacher. Fields was greatly pleased by Trump’s declaration of a proposal of erecting a wall along the US-Mexico border. Such intense hatred, condemned by people the world over, cannot be the workings of a sane mind. Schizophrenia might play a huge role in shaping thoughts of such people, sweeping them away from reality.
Schizophrenia, a serious mental condition
The symptoms of schizophrenia usually manifest between 16 and 30 years, and only in very rare scenarios do children exhibit signs. The symptoms fall into three categories – positive, negative and cognitive. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), schizophrenia is prevalent between 0.5 percent and 1 percent people worldwide. For men, the onset may be at the age of 21 and for women, it is 27. Among those who have the disease, by 30 years, nine out of 10 men and two out of 10 women will manifest the illness, says the CDC. Patients with schizophrenia also run a high risk of attempting suicide. One out of 10 will end up taking their own lives.
A person battling schizophrenia should seek and remain in treatment to manage symptoms. Family and loved ones also play a role as they can constantly encourage, pacify and assure them that their inner weird thoughts and beliefs are unreal. Patients with schizophrenia need the love and support from friends and family to deal with the mental disorder.
Dealing with schizophrenia
Among the treatment procedures for schizophrenia, the most common are antipsychotics, psychosocial treatments and coordinated specialty care (CSC). If a loved one is suffering from schizophrenia, one should seek the help of a credible rehab center immediately.
Sovereign Health is a leading behavioral health treatment caregiver in the U.S. that offers comprehensive treatment for all major mental health conditions, including treatments for schizophrenia. Call our 24/7 helpline or chat online if you are looking for treatment centers for schizophrenia.