Misconceptions of Schizophrenia


There are many myths about schizophrenia that increase its stigma. The movies and media perpetuate these stereotypes and make it more difficult for people to truly understand the core of this illness, and most importantly, they make it nearly impossible to have people understand those who have schizophrenia. An illness does not define a person. No one should be judged based on their mental health because. The crux of their existence is not their illness, rather the total contrary, the illness is only one of many threads woven together to bring about their individuality.

One common misconception is the idea that those who have schizophrenia are aggressive and violent. This is not true for the majority of people with schizophrenia. According to Ralph Ryback, those who did commit crimes, only 23% of their crimes were related to their symptoms. Due to this misconception, some people who are diagnosed with schizophrenia have an overall reduced quality of life because of the stigma. According to the Center for Excellence in Community Mental Health, people with schizophrenia are no more violent than the general population. Andrew Savageau says, “In reality, people with schizophrenia are more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators of violence.”

Schizophrenia symptoms are not limited to delusions and hallucinations. Yes, those are symptoms that transpire triggering a diagnosis, but they are not the only symptoms. Other symptoms include disorganized speech, lack of motivation, and blunted emotions. Contrary to what many think, visual hallucinations aren’t as common as auditory hallucinations, Chris Iliades states that medications can be remedy hallucinations and it usually clears up within seven to ten days after treatment has been started.

Another fallacy is that those with schizophrenia cannot live productive lives due to their diagnosis. Dr. Savageau states that with early treatment, those who are diagnosed often get married, have children, and go about their professional careers. Ramit, a 36-year-old male, was diagnosed with schizophrenia at the age of 21. His job involves working at the billing counter of an art gallery and at night, he teaches martial arts to children. He lives his life as anyone else would live their lives, despite his mental illness. He is only one of many people with schizophrenia that live a productive and satisfying life.

One other misbelief that is extremely important to debunk is the idea that schizophrenia is not treatable. Treatments such as medications, rehabilitation practices, and psychosocial therapies allow people with the illness to live their lives like anyone else. DeSilva says, “The longer an illness is left untreated, the greater the disruption to the person’s ability to study, work, make friends, and interact comfortably with others.” This goes to show that the earlier the diagnosis, the better outcome of the treatment. However, it is important to note the difference; schizophrenia is not curable, but it is definitely treatable.

Overall, there are many misconceptions that come along when we think of “schizophrenia”, but we need to look beyond these false ideas plastered in our minds and eventually get rid of the stigma completely. People need to feel comfortable when they need support the most, so why can’t we give it to those with a schizophrenia diagnosis? Reduce the stigma.

 

References

Center for Excellence in Community Mental Health. (n.d.). Myths, Half-truths, and Common
Misconceptions about Schizophrenia and Severe and Persistent Mental Illness (SPMI).
Retrieved April 20, 2018, from http://www.schizophrenia.ca/docs/Myths Half-truths and Common Misconceptions about Schizophrenia and Severe and Persistent Mental Illness (SPMI).pdf Iliades, C. (2015, August 18). 6 Schizophrenia Myths Debunked. Retrieved
April 20, 2018, from https://www.everydayhealth.com/hs/schizophrenia-caregiver-guide/schizophrenia-myths-debunked-pictures/#07

Rana, M. S. (2015, March 12). People Living with Schizophrenia can also lead a ‘Normal’ Life. Retrieved April 20, 2018, from http://www.globalmentalhealth.org/people-living-schizophrenia-can-also-lead-normal-life

Ryback, R. (2015, November 6). 4 Myths About Schizophrenia (and the Facts You Need to Know). Retrieved April 20, 2018, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-truisms-wellness/201511/4-myths-about-schizophrenia-and-the-facts-you-need-know

Tartakovsky, M. (2017, October 08). Living with Schizophrenia. Retrieved April 20, 2018, from
https://psychcentral.com/disorders/schizophrenia/living-with-schizophrenia/

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