According to WHO approximately 21 million people is affected worldwide from schizophrenia.
I know that’s a huge scary figure. There are lots of myths about schizophrenia which I am going to tell you today in this article. Make sure you read all of them and help your love ones from staying away from schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia is a psychotic illness. This means that the person with schizophrenia seems cut off from reality for periods of time. This is usually seen in young adulthood (16-30 years). It affects males and females equally but might begin earlier in males.
People with this illness have problems understanding what is real and what is imaginary. Some people complain of hearing invisible voices or seeing things that are not there. They may have problems thinking and concentrating. Doctors usually find that such people may stop talking to their families and friends. They also lose interest in other activities that they enjoyed earlier.
Today, we will talk about the many misunderstandings and myths about schizophrenia that people have:
Myth#1 Schizophrenia is a disease where people have two personalities inside them–
That is a completely different illness. It is called Multiple Personality Disorder or Dissociative Identity Disorder. People with schizophrenia do have problems thinking and doing things clearly. They have more of a split mind than split personalities.
Myth#2 Schizophrenia is very uncommon
Actually, 1 in 100 people suffer from this illness. It is quite possible that you might have already met somebody with schizophrenia. Most people don’t like to tell others that they have this problem. Sharing this information might make others fear or avoid them. This happens because people don’t have awareness about what happens in schizophrenia.
Myth#3 If you have schizophrenia once, you will always have schizophrenia
This used to happen in the past when we did not have modern medicines. It might only happen now if you do not get good treatment. Different people and different kinds of treatments have different results. Many people live useful, meaningful lives even after having this illness.
Myth# 4 They will never have a normal life
When they get good treatment and support, people with schizophrenia can and do have productive lives. That is why immediate medical help, and caring family and friends are important to their recovery.
Myth# 5 People with schizophrenia are always violent and dangerous
People with schizophrenia are as violent or dangerous as any healthy person on the road. It is quite sad that we think so. Most are more capable of hurting themselves than others around them. We lose many people with schizophrenia to suicide every year. If a person with this illness does turn to harm that is because they are feeling very unwell. They should be taken to emergency services at the hospital as soon as possible.
Myth# 6 The media is a good source of information about schizophrenia
The Media (TV, newspapers, movies, social media, etc.) is not the best place to learn about any mental illness. For example, there are too many movies about “mad” or “crazy” people who are killers and psychopaths. But very few movies show realistic movies about people with this illness. So, the best people to talk to about this are psychiatrists and psychologists. Make sure you consult with best child psychiatrist. Visiting the hospital is a good idea if you feel that you or a loved one may have this illness. A second opinion is important too.
Myth# 7 They are mentally challenged/retarded
People with any kind of IQ can develop this illness. A person with schizophrenia who is feeling poorly might feel confused and have a hard time thinking clearly. But this is just part of the illness. It does not mean that they are stupid or cannot learn new things.
Myth# 8 A person with schizophrenia is only a schizophrenic
On the outside it might look like the illness takes over the life of a person with schizophrenia. Like there is nothing else to their identity but the schizophrenia. But that is not the case. The person with schizophrenia is a regular person who has a life, family and a job. They just live with a condition that sometimes makes them lose touch with reality.
Myth# 9 Schizophrenia is caused by evil spirits/black magic
This is a very common myth that people believe. Schizophrenia is actually a brain disorder. Being very religious and god-loving will not keep you safe from schizophrenia. Nobody or nothing can give you schizophrenia, especially not evil spirits. That is why people with schizophrenia should be taken to the doctor and not to a religious baba or shaman.
Myth# 10 Schizophrenia is caused by bad parenting
This was a false idea that became popular in the 1950s. It is both wrong and unhelpful. It puts unnecessary stress and blame on the family when they are already trying to understand and help the person with schizophrenia.
Myth# 11 People with schizophrenia cannot hold jobs
Depending on how the person reacts to the treatment, people with schizophrenia can work full time and part time. In fact, having a job might actually help their recovery according to research. So, early treatment of the illness is very important.
Myth# 12 These people can’t have families
This can depend on how well the person can maintain his wellness after treatment. But it does not mean that the person with schizophrenia cannot have families.
Myth# 13 Schizophrenia can’t happen to me or anyone I know
Like we said earlier, schizophrenia is a common mental illness. 1 in 100 people have schizophrenia. In fact, 1 in 50 people develop a psychotic illness. Schizophrenia is found all over the world and across all societies.
Myth# 14 Schizophrenia is caused by loose morals
Again, schizophrenia is a serious brain disorder. The exact cause is still not known. But scientific research says that it might have to do with a combination of genetic influence, problems in brain chemistry and brain structures and the environment. None of which have anything to do with a person’s choices or character.
Myth# 15 People with schizophrenia are lazy and useless
Schizophrenia greatly affects how a person thinks, acts and feels. It can be a very harsh illness to live with everyday. It is quite possible that when people with schizophrenia are feeling very ill they may stop doing daily tasks or contributing to the household. This also happens if you are severely sick with any other illness. For example, you might not want to work if you have a fever of 103 degrees.
Myth# 16 Schizophrenia is not treatable
Schizophrenia is a long illness. It needs long term treatment and support. But it is definitely treatable. The earlier the person gets treatment, the better their results are. So it is very important to get them to a good doctor as soon as possible.
Myth# 17 You can’t talk to a person with schizophrenia
The conversation might be different from what you might expect but you can definitely talk to people with schizophrenia. They are regular people too. You might learn something new!
Myth# 18 They should be locked up and thrown in jails
This is completely untrue. People with schizophrenia need urgent medical help from good doctors. They are people in stress and pain. They deserve our help and empathy.
Myth# 19 The person should just chill. They will get better
Schizophrenia needs medical help as early as possible. The longer one waits, the worse the results of the treatment are. Would you wait for someone to get very ill with tuberculosis before you got them help?
Myth# 20 If a person with schizophrenia is smart and they know what is happening to them, they will get better on their own
How I wish that this was true! Knowing that you have schizophrenia or being really smart does not stop the problems.
Lots of people with schizophrenia hear invisible voices and see things that don’t exist. Even if they know that these sights and voices are imaginary, they still feel real. This makes people with schizophrenia very anxious and scared. They need lots of help to get better
Myth# 21 All ‘schizophrenics’ are the same
Just like all of the people in the world are different, every person with schizophrenia is not the same. They will have completely different experiences of the illness. They will respond differently to treatments.
Schizophrenia is a serious disorder. People with this type of illness need immediate help from doctors. But there are lots of myths about schizophrenics that confuse people looking for help. They also make others scared of and negative towards people with schizophrenia.
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