Schizophrenia is a mental illness shrouded in mystery and misinformation. There are many commonly held beliefs about the disease that are wrong. Knowing the truth can help you better understand what a friend or loved one who is living with the disease is going through, and it can help start to erase the stigma that accompanies serious mental illness. Here are five of the most common myths surrounding those who live with schizophrenia.
All People with Schizophrenia are Violent
Most people with Schizophrenia are not dangerous. Their behavior can be unusual or disturbing, but as long as they are in treatment, they are not usually violent. The exception is when someone with schizophrenia is not participating in treatment or is abusing drugs or alcohol. There is a higher incidence of violence in people in those circumstances.
People with Schizophrenia Cannot Work
It can be harder to get a job or go to work every day when a person is living with schizophrenia, but it is not impossible. With treatment, many people with the disease can find employment that fits their talents and abilities. The key is treatment and support.
People with Schizophrenia have Multiple Personalities
Schizophrenia is not the same as split personality disorder. This misconception probably comes from the fact that they word schizophrenia comes from the Greek root word for split. It actually means split from reality, not a split personality.
People with Schizophrenia Need to be Hospitalized
It used to be common practice to lock people with serious mental illness up in mental hospitals. Now, there is a better understanding of what causes mental illness. Because of this better understanding serious mental illness, people no longer always require long-term hospitalization. Many people in treatment for schizophrenia can live with family, or in a community-based group home.
Having Schizophrenia is Hopeless
It is possible for people with schizophrenia to lead productive, independent lives. It is true that there is no cure, but there are effective treatments. The combination of medication and behavioral treatments also means that people with this disease do not have to take tons of medication, either.
You have probably heard a great deal of misinformation about schizophrenia. Fortunately, the truth is much less grim than most people believe. It is possible for people with this mental illness to live independent and productive lives. They can hold jobs, live with family, and do not have to spend their lives in a mental institution. Life can go on, even with schizophrenia.
Northeast Ohio Medical University, http://www.neomed.edu/academics/bestcenter/helpendstigma/myths-and-facts-about-schizophrenia
NAIMI, Schizophrenia Pamphlet, naimi.org, http://www.lcmhb.org/downloads/NAMI-pamphlet.pdf