Understanding Schizophrenia and Its Common Misconceptions

frightened man with schizophrenia

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  • It's estimated that 54 million Americans are affected with a mental illness in a given year. The most common typess that you may have heard about are depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, and schizophrenia
  • Schizophrenia is a disease that affects the way you perceive reality and can cause major behavioral changes

Mental disorders are often portrayed in a bad light in media,1 resulting s in negative stereotypes that have long been ingrained in American culture. However, just like physical ailments, mental disorders are an illness, and those who suffer from them  need help and support.

There's a large lack of understanding and education on how to cope with mental diseases, as many people typically focus on physical health.

It's estimated that 54 million Americans are affected with a mental illness in a given year.2 The most common types that you may have heard about are depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, and schizophrenia. This final illness is probably the most misunderstood.

Common Misconceptions About Schizophrenia

There are plenty of misconceptions that surround schizophrenia. The examples below are the most prominent ones, which you may already be aware of:3

  • Schizophrenics have multiple personalities: It's not clear how this idea came about, but schizophrenics do not have "split" or multiple personalities. The word "schizo" does mean split, but the word actually refers to a person’s ability to think and express emotions. People with multiple personalities are diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder.
  • Schizophrenics have dangerous behavior: This myth stems from the  negative portrayal of schizophrenics in films, where they're often depicted as criminals with dangerous, paranoid behavior. In truth, only a very small number of schizophrenics commit crime, with only 23 percent of this rooted  directly in  their symptoms.
  • Schizophrenia can't be treated: While it's true that schizophrenia has no cure, that doesn't mean schizophrenics can't be helped. A combination of different treatment methods can work together to reduce your risk for a schizophrenia attack. In fact, many schizophrenics go on to have a successful recovery and excel in their chosen careers.
  • Schizophrenia is caused by bad parenting or a bad childhood:4 People often speculate that the reason why a person  gets schizophrenia is due to having a difficult childhood. This isn't the case, as schizophrenia is caused by a complex interplay of genes and your environment. Your upbringing is just one part of the equation.

How Does Schizophrenia Affect You?

Schizophrenia is a disease that affects the way you perceive reality and can cause major behavioral changes. Defining symptoms include:5

Having hallucinations or hearing voices

Cognitive problems, such as trouble thinking logically

Reduced speech

Odd beliefs that others do not agree with

Attention problems

Lack of emotional expression during speech

Lack of pleasure in daily activities/routines

Agitated body movements

Researchers aren’t sure how schizophrenia develops, but evidence  suggests that schizophrenia has a hereditary component. If you have a schizophrenic relative, there’s a chance you may get it as well. Treating schizophrenia relies on a combination of different methods, all working together to help manage the symptoms. A healthy diet, exercise, and supportive therapy are generally recommended to help lower your risk for an attack. Medication may be prescribed as well, but be aware that they come with many side effects.

This guide aims to educate you about schizophrenia, such as its different subtypes, symptoms, treatment, and factors that may increase your risk. You’ll also discover how to spot early signs of this mental disorder. But note that the information provided here isn’t enough to help you manage schizophrenia alone. It’s still important to consult with a trusted doctor, preferably one who has plenty of experience helping schizophrenics in the past.

MORE ABOUT SCHIZOPHRENIA

Schizophrenia: Introduction

What Is Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia Types

Schizophrenia in Children

Schizophrenia Causes

Is Schizophrenia Hereditary?

Schizophrenia Symptoms

Schizophrenia Diagnosis

Schizophrenia Treatment

Famous People With Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia Prevention

Living With Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia FAQ

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What Is Schizophrenia?