13 myths about schizophrenia

13 myths about schizophrenia

What is schizophrenia?

The schizophrenia It is the most "feared" mental disorder and at the same time involved in the mystery of all that exist. Misunderstanding and fear of schizophrenia among people who do not know it is usually habitual. According to the eminent psychiatrist E. Fuller Torrey, schizophrenia is "the modern equivalent of leprosy."

While the vast majority of people recognize that schizophrenia is a mental illness and not a type of voluntary behavior, very few are really familiar with the disorder.

On the other hand, images of aggressiveness and violence by someone "schizophrenic" are frequent in the media. Such stereotypes yet stigmatize this disease more and undermine any kind of sympathy for people with this disorder. It has usually been associated with a lack of a stable home, reduced job opportunities, decreased quality of life, low self-esteem and more unpleasant symptoms.

It is hard enough for people with schizophrenia to deal with this terrible disease. But they also have to fight with the confusion, fear and contempt of others.

Main myths of schizophrenia

Below are some of the widespread myths - followed by real events - in relation to schizophrenia.

1. People with schizophrenia have the same symptoms.

This is not like this, there are different types of schizophrenia. Even people diagnosed with the same subtype of schizophrenia often have very different symptoms.

Part of the reason that schizophrenia is so mysterious is because we are unable to put ourselves in the skin of a person with this disorder. It is simply difficult to imagine what it is to have schizophrenia. Everyone experiences sadness, anxiety and anger, but schizophrenia seems so out of our realm of feelings and understanding, that it is almost impossible until its existence.

Those who do not suffer from this disease should ask ourselves, for example, how we would feel if our brain began to play bad passes, if some invisible voices shouted at us, if we lost the ability to feel emotions, and if we lost the ability to reason logically ...

2. People with schizophrenia are dangerous, unpredictable and out of control.

In acute outbreaks this may happen, but it is not the norm, since when the disease is adequately treated with medication and psychological intervention, people with schizophrenia are not more violent than the general population. On the contrary, "people with schizophrenia more often tend to be victims rather than perpetrators of violence," according to psychologist Irene S. Levine.

3. Schizophrenia is a character defect.

The idea that schizophrenia is a character defect is no more realistic than saying that someone can prevent their seizures if they really want to or that someone can 'decide' not to have cancer by eating a healthy diet. What often appears as character defects are the symptoms of schizophrenia, therefore they are equally uncontrollable.

4. Cognitive impairment is an important symptom of schizophrenia.

People with this disorder effectively have difficulties with attention, memory and cognitive processing, so they can forget to take their medication, mainly in the acute phase of the disease. These are basic symptoms of schizophrenia, although they have nothing to do with your character or personality, and that remit when passing the most acute phase.

5. Everyone suffering from schizophrenia has severe psychotic symptoms.

Not everyone suffers the disease with the same level of severity. For example, most people will agree that people are not simply depressed or happy. There are gradients of depression, which goes through a mild melancholy of a day, a deep and disabling clinical depression. Similarly, the symptoms of schizophrenia are not so different. Auditory hallucinations, for example, may appear extraordinarily differently among different patients.

6. Schizophrenia develops rapidly.

It is very strange that this happens. Schizophrenia tends to develop slowly. Initial signs are often shown during adolescence. These signs usually appear in school, with some social deterioration and if necessary, also labor, difficulties in managing relationships and problems with the organization of information. Again, the symptoms are in a continuum. In the early stages of schizophrenia, a person does not have to hear voices. Instead, he can hear whispers, that he does not associate them as something external. This "prodromal" period - before the onset of schizophrenia - is the perfect time to intervene and seek treatment.

7. Schizophrenia is purely genetic.

Studies have shown that in the pairs of identical twins (who share an identical genome) the prevalence of developing the disease both individuals is 48%. Because other factors are involved, it is possible to reduce the risk of developing the disease. There are several prodromal programs that focus on helping at-risk adolescents and adults.

Along with genetics, research has shown that stress and family environment can play an important role in increasing a person's susceptibility to psychosis.. While we cannot change genetic vulnerability, we can reduce the amount of stress in someone's life, develop coping skills to improve the way we respond to stress, and create a low profile of protection, a quiet family environment and without much conflict. and stress in the hope of reducing the risk of disease progression.

8. Schizophrenia is intractable.

Although schizophrenia does not heal completely, It is an eminently treatable and manageable chronic disease, such as diabetes or other diseases. The key is to get the right treatment for your needs.

9. Patients with schizophrenia need to be hospitalized.

Most people with schizophrenia live in community with outpatient treatment. Again, the key is the proper treatment and adherence to that treatment, especially taking the medication as prescribed.

10. People with schizophrenia cannot lead a productive life.

This myth is also false, many people can lead a happy and productive life. In a study over 10 years with 130 individuals with schizophrenia and substance abuse (which appears in almost 50 percent of patients), many had managed to control both disorders, reducing their hospitalization episodes and finding themselves homeless, being able to live on their own and achieving a better quality of life. Specifically, 62.7% controlled the symptoms of schizophrenia; 62.5% remitted in substance abuse; 56.8% had independent lives; 41.4% were competent employees; 48.9% had regular social contacts; and 58.3% expressed their general satisfaction with life.

11. Medications make them look like zombies.

When we think of antipsychotic medication for schizophrenia, we automatically think of adjectives such as lethargic, apathetic, selfless and vacant. Many believe that this medication produces such symptoms. Nevertheless, The most common is that these symptoms already exist due to schizophrenia in itself, or in any case, due to overmedication.

12. Antipsychotic medications are worse than the disease itself.

Antipsychotic medication is the mainstay of schizophrenia treatment

13. People with schizophrenia never return to normal functioning.

Unlike dementia, which worsens over time and never improves, schizophrenia seems to be a problem that can be reversible with the right treatment, according to many doctors. There is no line that once crossed means that there is no hope for a person with schizophrenia. Stability is possible.

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