Myths about schizophrenia

It’s Schizophrenia Awareness Week and there are many misunderstandings about schizophrenia; what it is and how it affects people. SuicideLine Victoria is working to reduce the stigma of schizophrenia by looking at the most common myths and comparing them to the facts.

SuicideLine Victoria is focusing on the many misunderstandings about schizophrenia – what it is and how it affects people. We are working to reduce the stigma of schizophrenia by looking at the most common myths and comparing them to the facts.

 

Myth

Having schizophrenia means you have split or multiple personalities.

 

Fact

No. People with schizophrenia do not have more than one personality. Schizophrenia is a chronic mental illness that affects your thoughts, behaviours and perception. People with schizophrenia may have trouble distinguishing between what is real and what is not.

 

Myth

Schizophrenia is very rare.

 

Fact

No. Around one in a hundred people will develop schizophrenia., with it typically affecting people in their late teens to mid-twenties.

 

Myth

People with schizophrenia only suffer symptoms that involve delusions and hallucinations.

 

Fact

No. People with schizophrenia can experience two or more of the following symptoms:

  1. Delusions – fixed beliefs that are implausible
  2. Hallucinations – experiencing things that no one else is hearing, seeing, tasting, touching or smelling
  3. Disorganised thinking – not connecting thoughts logically, speech is difficult to follow
  4. Abnormal movement – includes catatonia
  5. Negative symptoms – reduced facial expressions, low motivation, inability to enjoy once-liked activities, and social withdrawal

 

Myth

People who have schizophrenia are violent.

 

Fact

No. Violence is not a symptom of schizophrenia. Unfortunately, popular culture has often depicted people with schizophrenia to be violent.

 

Myth

You cannot treat Schizophrenia.

 

Fact

No. There are treatments for schizophrenia. These include medication, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), mindfulness-based treatments, and education identifying the suffer of the warning signs. Many people living with schizophrenia go on to live productive and successful lives.

 

If you are worried about yourself or someone you know, a GP can help with an initial assessment and then refer you to a specialist. The earlier schizophrenia is diagnosed, the better a chance for recovery.

 

If you are struggling and want to speak to a professional counsellor, SuicideLine Victoria is available 24/7. Call us on 1300 651 251.

If it is an emergency, dial 000.

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