Debunking Myths About Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia is one of the most commonly misunderstood and stigmatized mental illnesses. One of the many reasons for such stereotypes is TV and movies. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), Schizophrenia is one of the top causes of disability, worldwide.
People with schizophrenia experience disturbances in their thoughts in the forms of hallucinations and delusions. The symptoms of this disease can be crippling and can affect behavioral, mental, emotional, and physical health.
Symptom of Schizophrenia Are:
- Incoherent speech patterns
- Lack of facial and emotional expressions
- Lack of motivation
- Trouble in concentration
- Hallucinations and delusions
Causes of schizophrenia can be genetics, a chemical imbalance in the brain, the influence of environmental factors, or it could be caused by side-effects of certain medications or drugs.
There are treatments available to help people, even children with schizophrenia but these myths and misconceptions prevent people and parents in need to reach out for help. By separating fact from fiction, people can receive proper healthcare treatment to help them cope with their schizophrenia.
From Fiction To Facts…
Myth #1: Having Schizophrenia Equals Having Multiple Personalities
Fact: There are many people who believe that people who have schizophrenia have multiple personalities. In reality, schizophrenia is a biological psychiatric disorder where a person loses touch with reality. There is a significant difference between multiple personality disorder or, more commonly known as, dissociative identity disorder and schizophrenia.
The word ‘schizo’ means ‘split’ but it refers to as ‘gaps’ in a person’s ability to separate themselves from the real world, their ability to express emotions, and form coherent thoughts.
Myth #2: People With Schizophrenia have Violent Tendencies
Fact: People are quick to believe that all people with mental illnesses carry violent tendencies. In reality, only a small portion (approximately 3-5%) of the people with severe mental diseases are prone to violent tendencies. It is represented in movies and TV that people with schizophrenia will likely be the ‘criminal’ or ‘killer’.
While it is not uncommon for people with schizophrenia to commit violent acts, it was recorded that only 20-23% of those crimes were related to the symptoms of their mental illness.
Myth #3: All of Those With Schizophrenia Have Similar Symptoms
Fact: There are many types of this particular psychiatric disorder and all of those affect people in different ways. For instance, paranoid schizophrenia can have symptoms like hallucinations while catatonic schizophrenia might have symptoms such as lack of emotional expression or motivation.
All mental illnesses affect people differently and while it is possible for two people to have similar symptoms, it doesn’t mean that their behavior will be similar as well. After all, schizophrenia isn’t all about being neurotic and hearing voices.
Myth #4: Women are More Prone to Schizophrenia than Men
Fact: While it is true that women are more likely to be affected by a mental health disorder more than men, it is not all probable that women suffer from schizophrenia more than men. There are studies conducted by various mental health institutes and organizations that show that the rate of men having schizophrenia is two to three times higher than women. One of the causes of this could be genes. No matter who – men or women – don’t receive proper treatment, schizophrenia can have serious mental health implications.
Myth #5: Treating Schizophrenia is Not Possible
Fact: It is often shown in the movies that people who are diagnosed with schizophrenia are carried off to a mental health institution and locked away in a padded cell. This representation had led people to believe the notion that there are no treatment options available for treating schizophrenia.
In reality, with the help of psychotherapy, counseling, special care, well-established support systems, and prescribed medication, schizophrenia can be treated and people with this illness can learn how to cope with the symptoms when they occur. If a person is staying true to their treatment plan, their illness can be controlled to a point where their daily lives remain uninterrupted.
Here we have arranged a list of Support Groups You can Join:
With the help of appropriate treatment, it is possible to live a life filled with happiness and love. There are many people like Lionel Alridge, a football player and sports analyst, John Nash, mathematician, and Skip Spence, a guitarist, singer-songwriter for the band Moby Grape – all lived with schizophrenia.
It is not to say that life with schizophrenia is easy but with proper care and support, it is possible to live a thriving life. With the help of proper education and awareness, we can remove the stigma that surrounds schizophrenia and make this illness something that people with them aren’t afraid of judgment from others.
“I have schizophrenia. I am not schizophrenia. I am not my mental illness. My illness is a part of me.” – Jonathan Harnisch