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Some Common Misconceptions of Schizophrenia


a cartoon showing misconceptions of schizophrenia

 

Men and women who suffer from schizophrenia are negatively affected in two ways.  First of all, they have a severe brain disease and secondly, they are isolated and discriminated against by our society.  They have become the “other.”  There are 4 main misconceptions about this disease and the sooner society learns the truth about the disease, the sooner these individuals will feel less cut off from the world.

 

Misconception: “Aren’t all people with schizophrenia violent?”

 

Truth:  People with schizophrenia are no more violent than the common man or woman.  Unless patients forget to take their medications, are using drugs excessively or have a history of violence, there is no difference between the “normal” population and the population of people with schizophrenia.  This portrayal has mainly been spread through the media and if anything, people suffering from this disease are the opposite.  They tend to be passive, anxious and fearful of others/the environment.

 

Misconception: “Schizophrenia is the same as split personality.”

 

Truth:  Split personality is actually an illness called ‘dissociative disorder,’ and it occurs when there are two or more personalities within one person.  People with schizophrenia only have one personality.  Schizophrenia is derived from the Greek word "split mind," referring solely to the split in reality that is commonly experienced by people with schizophrenia.

 

Misconception: “Dysfunctional families can cause schizophrenia.”

 

Truth:  There has been no causal relationship found between families and schizophrenia.  However, the more conflicts and instability at home, the more stress one experiences and the more likely one is to relapse.

 

Misconception:  “There is no hope of recovering.”

 

Truth: Being diagnosed with schizophrenia does not mean that one will necessarily have a lifelong illness.  Some people are able to improve and recover over time. 


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