Schizophrenia is a complex mental illness that affects one's ability to think and act clearly. An individual with schizophrenia struggles to differentiate between what is real and whatnot; they often hear voices or see things that aren't there. Schizophrenia also affects decision making and managing emotions.
According to a recent survey conducted by NIMHANS, the prevalence of schizophrenia in India is 0.5 per cent for current and 1.4 per cent for a lifetime experience. Individuals struggling with schizophrenia are not aware of their condition, making the treatment even more challenging. The lack of awareness about schizophrenia gives rise to myths about schizophrenia, including individuals perceiving threats from those who have schizophrenia due to their actions and socially inappropriate behaviour.
Dive in to bust some common misconceptions about schizophrenia.
Do individuals with schizophrenia have multiple personalities? One of the biggest myths about schizophrenia involves a split personality. The symptoms of schizophrenia include hallucinations and delusions, which make individuals react to stimuli such as voices or visions that do not exist, which is not the same as having a split personality or dissociative identity disorder.
Individuals with schizophrenia are not in touch with reality; they are nowhere to be related to multiple personality disorders.
Are Individuals with schizophrenia violent or dangerous? Schizophrenia does make an individual act unpredictably, but not necessarily violent, especially during treatment. Individuals with schizophrenia are more likely to be the victims of violence. They are often found self-harming rather than posing a danger to those around them. The suicide rate among individuals with schizophrenia is high.
Individuals with this mental illness do commit violence, but that is in the case of co-occurrence of other conditions such as substance abuse disorder or childhood conduct problems. Schizophrenia alone does not make an individual physically aggressive.
Does bad parenting lead to schizophrenia? Mothers are often blamed if their child has schizophrenia. A mental illness has many causes: genetic, drug abuse, or trauma. Bad parenting or a parent's mistakes while raising their child will not give them this disorder.
If a parent has schizophrenia, then the child's chances of having the condition are 10 per cent. The risk increases when more than one family member has this condition.
Does schizophrenia make one unproductive? Another common misconception about schizophrenia is that it makes an individual lazy and incapable of holding a job. While struggling with this condition makes it tough for an individual to land a job and show up for work every day. But with suitable treatment, an individual can function well if the job matches their skills and abilities.
Schizophrenia does not make an individual "lazy". They require help meeting their day-to-day needs such as bathing, dressing, etc.
Having schizophrenia means an individual needs a mental hospital? Earlier, individuals struggling with mental disorders were sent to mental asylums or prisons. Now that professionals better understand mental illness, fewer people are institutionalised. The deciding factor for an individual to seek inpatient care is the severity of their symptoms. Most individuals with schizophrenia live within families and communities. It is essential to maintain close contact with a mental health professional, continue the required treatment, and get timely help.
Can an individual never recover from schizophrenia? Treating schizophrenia undoubtedly is challenging, but it is not beyond the realms of possibility. Holding onto this myth about schizophrenia can cause individuals to be devoid of receiving treatment and, thus, the chance to recover.
Antipsychotic medications stabilise one’s condition, lowering the chances of future symptoms. The Best Stress Management Counselling, such as cognitive behavioural therapy, equips individuals with the strategies to manage stress better. With a suitable combination of medication and psychotherapy, 25 per cent of individuals recover completely from schizophrenia. While 50 per cent witness their symptoms improve. Many individuals with schizophrenia lead productive and fulfilling lives.
Identifying the myths and facts about schizophrenia addresses all the inhibitions that hold an individual from seeking treatment. It also breaks the stereotypes one develops unknowingly due to exposure to movies, articles, etc.