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Myths and Misconceptions About Schizophrenia

by Althea Ocomen

There are several misconceptions and myths surrounding schizophrenia which may be detrimental to the patient or the family of a diagnosed person. Because of this wrong information, it is extremely hard to find genuine symptoms and to remove certain stigmas that surround this mental health disorder.

The first misconception about this mental disorder is that the patient has several or multiple personalities. This is definitely one of the biggest misunderstandings and misinformation about this topic. One poll found that 64% of Americans believe that one of the symptoms of this condition involves split personalities, which means that the patient acts like he is two separate people. To correct this myth, people must be aware of the real symptoms regarding this disorder. A person with schizophrenia doesn’t have two different personalities. Instead, he has false ideas, hallucinations, delusions, or has lost touch with reality. Multiple personality or bipolar disorder are unrelated.

Another myth which most people incorrectly believe is that patients diagnosed with schizophrenia are violent and dangerous. In popular fiction movies and TV Shows, the killer is often portrayed as a character with the same condition. But what individuals fail to realize is that situations like these do not happen in real life. Although patients with schizophrenia act unpredictably sometimes, most aren’t violent and are actually a regular, everyday human being. When people with brain disorders do commit acts of aggression, they usually have another issue, like childhood issues or substance abuse.

Schizophrenia is a mental illness. It is caused by several internal and environmental factors such as genes, trauma, and drug abuse. Mothers aren’t supposed to be blamed for the factors which they did not contribute to.

Although genetic and hereditary traits play a role in acquiring this mental illness, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will get the same condition once your parents suffer from it. If one parent is diagnosed with schizophrenia, the risk of the child getting the same condition is approximately 10%. But having more than one family member acquiring the disorder increases the risk.

Society often judges these patients as shallow minded and unintelligent because of their mental illness. Some studies have found that people with this condition have more difficulty during tests of critical thinking such as attention, learning, and memory. But that does not automatically mean they are not intelligent. Many creative and unique people throughout history have had schizophrenia, such as Russian ballet dancer Vaslav Nijinsky and Nobel Prize-winning mathematician John Nash. But these people did not allow their mental illnesses to limit their potential. Scientists are further researching and looking into links between genes that may be related to both psychosis and creativity.

A misconception that most people are confused with is that patients with schizophrenia belong in mental hospitals. There was a time when people with mental illnesses were sent to asylums, mental hospitals, or even prisons. But now that experts are more aware of the causes of this condition, fewer people need to be placed in long-term mental health facilities. Most people with schizophrenia live with family, go to therapy, or live in supportive housing in the community.

Schizophrenia makes it extremely difficult for a patient to land a job and go to work every day. But they are still capable enough to find a position of employment and find a job. With the right treatment, therapy, and medication, these people can find a suitable place to contribute their skills and abilities comfortably.

These common misconceptions and misinformation should be corrected by medical professionals in order to remove the stigma and stereotypes surrounding this topic. By doing so, patients diagnosed with schizophrenia will be able to live in a safer and comfortable environment surrounded by well- informed people.



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