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The 8 myths about schizophrenia (and why they are not true)

by Nouman ul haq 2 months ago in advice / treatments / selfcare / schizophrenia / disorder
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These myths about schizophrenia distort our way of perceiving this health problem.

Schizophrenia is among the most complex mental disorders, and is therefore one of the most stigmatized. In addition, today there is no consensus among the different professionals regarding various aspects related to this disorder, such as its origin or the most appropriate treatment; however, today we have numerous advances and research.

On the other hand, there are numerous myths about schizophrenia and among them we can highlight the following: that people with schizophrenia are usually violent and dangerous, that schizophrenia has no treatment, that all people with schizophrenia need hospitalization or that people with schizophrenia they are not capable of leading a productive and fulfilling life, among other myths.

In this article you will find several of the main myths about schizophrenia , and an explanation of why they are not true.

Stigmatization of people with schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a mental disorder whose main symptoms are the following: hallucinations, delusions, disorganized or catatonic behavior, disorganized speech and some negative symptoms such as abulia, logia or affective flattening, among others. It should be noted that to make the diagnosis, at least two of the aforementioned symptoms should be present for at least one month.

On the other hand, these conditions that are characteristic of schizophrenia would involve a series of complications in different areas of the patient's life, such as work or academic life, as well as social and/or family life, for a period of at least 6 months. Today there are multidisciplinary treatments, where the use of psychotropic drugs is usually combined with psychotherapy, which offer very good results.

However, despite the fact that there have been many advances in the diagnosis and treatment of schizophrenia, there is much ignorance among the general population and this means that this disease has become so stigmatized .

It is worth mentioning that stigmatization is one of the main causes of the suffering of those people who have a diagnosis of a serious mental disorder such as schizophrenia due to the impact it generates at a psychosocial level.

Because of the stigma we can see different things: pointing out, discrimination, loss of employment, resentment of social relationships, greater difficulties in rejoining the labor market or loss of status, among others.

The Biggest Myths About Schizophrenia (And Why They're False)

All these negative consequences arising from the diagnosis of the disease have behind a series of myths that have emerged around schizophrenia. That is why we are going to comment on them below.

1. People with schizophrenia are often violent and dangerous

Among the myths about schizophrenia that we can find perhaps the most widespread is the one that refers to the statement that people who have been diagnosed with schizophrenia are usually dangerous , carry out violent behavior and are also unpredictable. to be a myth since people with schizophrenia are actually no more violent than the general population. Furthermore, people with schizophrenia are more likely to be victims of violent acts rather than perpetrators.

2. Schizophrenia develops solely due to genetic causes

Despite the fact that genes can play a significant role in the development of schizophrenia, research carried out in recent years with patients has shown that, although schizophrenia is a disease that affects At the cerebral level, other psychological and social factors also have an important weight . For this reason, the origin of schizophrenia is still not known with absolute certainty, so there are various theories.

In any of the cases, we cannot say that schizophrenia develops solely because of genes, and the hypothesis that suggests that various factors such as those mentioned above have an influence is more limited.

3. Schizophrenia has no treatment

The statement that schizophrenia has no treatment is another of the main myths about schizophrenia since, despite the fact that it has a complex prognosis due to the fact that it is considered a chronic disorder, multicomponent treatments are currently available in which It includes pharmacology and psychotherapy that offer very favorable results .

For this reason, we could consider that schizophrenia does have treatment and is manageable with a good therapeutic approach, as occurs with other chronic diseases. The most important thing is to get the treatment that best suits the needs of each patient so that they can lead a full life.

It should be noted that multidisciplinary treatment for schizophrenia, according to some experts, should follow some recommendations aimed at addressing the symptoms of each patient depending on the phase of the disorder in which they are.

In the event that it is in the first phase, which is what is known as "acute or crisis", the most recommended would be psychopharmacological treatment in order to stabilize the symptoms of the acute psychotic episode. If you are in the "stabilization" phase, focus on stress reduction and relapse prevention. In the case of being in a "stable" phase, the psychopharmacological treatment should be adjusted to minimize side effects and focus on social skills training and job rehabilitation in order to help the patient readapt in the different areas of his life.

4. All people with schizophrenia need hospitalization

Here we come across another of the most common myths about schizophrenia, since a high percentage of people who have been diagnosed with schizophrenia receive outpatient treatment and live in their habitual residence.

They usually receive hospitalization after having suffered a crisis or psychotic episode and are discharged at the moment in which the symptoms are stabilized, preferably opting for outpatient treatment so that patients can lead a lifestyle that suits what is best for them. maximum possible to your day-to-day life prior to the first crisis. In addition, being supported and surrounded by people closest to you can promote adherence to treatment and a better prognosis .

5. People with schizophrenia are unable to lead productive and fulfilling lives

Among the myths about schizophrenia we can also find the widespread idea that people diagnosed with schizophrenia cannot lead a productive or fulfilling life, when the reality is that in most cases, having received adequate treatment, the symptomatology will subside over time or at least positively improve to such an extent that a high percentage of people with schizophrenia can lead productive and fulfilling lives at the same time.

It is important to mention that the more integrated patients with schizophrenia are in the different areas of their lives (eg, work, academic, social, relational, etc.), the better prognosis they will have and the sooner the symptoms will remit or decrease. In addition, with the appropriate treatment, cases have been found in which the symptoms have been remitting as the years go by, tending to stabilize in such a way that it is possible and feasible for the schizophrenia to remit .

6. All people with schizophrenia usually have the same symptoms

This would be another of the main myths about schizophrenia since there are actually different types of schizophrenia (eg, paranoid, disorganized, catatonic, residual, etc.). In addition, it is quite common for people who have been diagnosed with the same subtype of schizophrenia to present very different symptoms . The same happens with other mental health problems (for example, depression) where we can observe that, despite the existence of a common or similar symptomatology, each case and each patient is a world and therefore two identical diagnoses will never be found.

7. People with schizophrenia are less intelligent than the average population

This is another of the myths about schizophrenia that has spread the most when the truth is that it does not directly affect the intellect. In reality, what happens is that in the development of schizophrenia it is quite common to experience a series of difficulties in attention, memory, information processing or the organization of ideas or thoughts , among others, which usually arise as side effects of drugs used to treat schizophrenia; however, there are intellectual abilities that can be found intact, as well as sensorimotor abilities.

Moreover, there are people with schizophrenia who have higher than average intellectual abilities or are simply within "normal" levels, so the fact of having this disease is not a determining factor in terms of variation in intelligence.

8. Schizophrenia usually comes on suddenly

Here we can see another of those myths about schizophrenia because today we know that schizophrenia is a disease that develops over time. Normally, a series of strange behaviors are usually observed in the initial phases, including neglect of hygiene and/or social isolation, among others. Later, as the disease develops, the psychotic outbreaks begin and this would normally be the moment when the positive symptoms begin, such as hallucinations, delusions, etc.


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Nouman ul haq

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