Schizophrenia is one of those mental disorders that many people seem to confuse with something else, such as multiple personality disorder. It’s a very simple yet very terrifying condition, characterized by usually having a combination of hallucinations and delusions. Hallucinations can involve any of your five senses, but in schizophrenia, usually involves seeing or hearing things that aren’t really there (like hearing other people’s voices inside your head telling you to do something you don’t want to). Delusions are a false belief in something, such as the CIA is out to get you.
Many of us hear voices in our heads, but usually it’s our own voice acting as our conscious (“You really shouldn’t eat that second piece of cake!”). That’s not schizophrenia. And many of us believe in something that isn’t true (“Life is fair.”). That’s not schizophrenia either. The symptoms of schizophrenia need to be serious and significantly impact your daily life.
Regular contributor and author of the blog Weightless, Margarita Tartakovsky, has put together 13 myths regarding schizophrenia. Here’s the list of common myths about schizophrenia:
- Individuals with schizophrenia all have the same symptoms.
- People with schizophrenia are dangerous, unpredictable and out of control.
- Schizophrenia is a character flaw.
- Cognitive decline is a major symptom of schizophrenia.
- There are psychotic and non-psychotic people.
- Schizophrenia develops quickly.
- Schizophrenia is purely genetic.
- Schizophrenia is untreatable.
- Sufferers need to be hospitalized.
- People with schizophrenia can’t lead productive lives.
- Medications make sufferers zombies.
- Antipsychotic medications are worse than the illness itself.
- Individuals with schizophrenia can never regain normal functioning.
Schizophrenia is usually a life-long disorder, and one that makes having what most of us would consider a “normal” life challenging. It can be done, but it requires a commitment on the part of the person with schizophrenia, often with the support of their family. While not common, it is one of the most disabling of the mental disorders — and the most misunderstood.
You can read more about these myths and the actual facts in the article, Illuminating 13 Myths of Schizophrenia.
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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 18 Jan 2010
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.
Grohol, J. (2010). 13 Myths of Schizophrenia. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 8, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2010/01/18/13-myths-of-schizophrenia/