Schizophrenia is a chronic psychiatric disorder that attacks one in every 1000 people worldwide. With a limited understanding of illness and stigma associated with psychiatric illness, most patients do not get timely diagnosis and treatment, which then causes massive psychosocial and physical morbidity. It’s important to learn about this disorder to identify and treat the problem before it destroys sufferers and their families. There are several myths about this disease that make it difficult for people to deal effectively with problems.
5 Myths and Facts About Schizophrenia
Here are common myths about this mental illness:
Myth No. 1: Schizophrenia Means Split Personality
Although the meaning of the word schizophrenia comes from the Greek word meaning division in the mind, schizophrenia is not clinically a disorder or personality that is split into two (it is a dissociative disorder). It is a neurochemical disorder of the brain that produces thought and perception disorders that lead to delusions and hallucinations.
Myth No. 2: Schizophrenia Caused By Evil Magic
There is a general belief that schizophrenia is caused by evil / ghost / spirit magic and treatment is outside the scope of medical science. Schizophrenia is a medical disorder that affects brain function. Therefore, the thought process of individuals becomes disrupted so that they behave irrationally and aggressively. This disorder usually begins early in life (ages 18-25 years) and is not specifically the result of stressful or traumatic events or supernatural phenomena.
Myth No. 3: Schizophrenia Can Be Treated By Getting Married Or Having Children
There are no diseases that can be treated by marriage. Marriage is a big responsibility and even normal people struggle to adjust to the changes that occur during marriage. Social dysfunction in schizophrenia along with emotional and cognitive deficits make it increasingly difficult for patients to adapt to married life with an increased likelihood of relapse.
Myth No. 4: Schizophrenia Patients Intentionally Change Violent Stories Or Imagine What’s Wrong
Schizophrenia is a disease that cannot control a suffering patient. For patients, the thoughts and perceptions that arise in their minds such as fear that someone is following them or having them do something is very real. They do not lie or manipulate anyone but cannot distinguish the real from the unreal. It also makes them very anxious and loses control of their emotions which makes them aggressive or rude.
Myth No. 5: Schizophrenia Patients Become Dysfunctional Because of Treatment
Schizophrenia treatment is aimed at balancing disrupted neurochemicals in the brain and not making patients calm. Some drugs can cause sedation while others do not cause these side effects. With early intervention, patients respond better to lower drug doses and also suffer from lower side effects. However, patients are better off with treatment than without because untreated psychosis tends to get worse over time and even become resistant to drugs.
Although we are still not completely clear about the causes of schizophrenia and treatment modalities, any understanding that is available has helped millions of psychotic people live better lives and be rehabilitated in society. The initial intervention is the most important in achieving sustainable response and function. If there are people you know, who act irrationally, look paranoid and bother without any reason, don’t blame them. Get them professional help.
About the Author: Jyoti Kapoor Madan is a well-known Psychiatrist in Delhi-NCR. With more than 15 years of experience, Dr. Jyoti has worked as a Psychiatric Consultant, Researcher, and Psychotherapist during his tenure at a famous hospital. At present he is a Psychiatrist at Paras Hospital, Gurugram.
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