Schizophrenia is a chronic mental illness characterised by distortions in thinking, perception, emotions, language, sense of self, and behaviour. People will commonly experience auditory, visual, or tactile hallucinations or delusions, which are fixed, false beliefs. It significantly impacts day-to-day life and affects educational and occupational ability yet individuals often also have to manage stigma and discrimination from those who may misunderstand the disorder. So… we’d like to clear up a few myths and misconceptions.
Myth: People with schizophrenia are violent or dangerous
Anyone can have issues with anger or aggression, not just people with psychiatric disorders. Unfortunately, the depiction that all individuals with schizophrenia are violent or dangerous perpetuates stigma and discrimination. While a small proportion of people with schizophrenia may also experience issues with anger, violence is not a symptom of the disorder.
Myth: Schizophrenia is the same as having split or multiple personalities
What is now known as Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) is very different to schizophrenia. Individuals with DID have at least two distinct personality states; people with schizophrenia only have one. However, they may confuse fantasy and reality by experiencing delusions and hallucinations.
Myth: Hallucinations and delusions are the only symptoms of schizophrenia.
These are possibly the most well-known symptoms but individuals can also experience:
- Disorganised thinking, where thoughts don’t necessarily flow or connect logically so speech can be hard to follow.
- Abnormal movement like agitation, strange postures, or catatonic behaviour.
- Negative symptoms, like social withdrawal or reduced motivation, facial expression, or enjoyment in activities.
Myth: Schizophrenia cannot be treated
In the past, people with chronic mental disorders, like schizophrenia, were often institutionalised. However, psychology and society has progressed significantly so whilst schizophrenia cannot be cured, it can be successfully treated. Through a combination of medication, psychotherapy, and if necessary, in-patient care, individuals can lead happy, independent lives.
A number of our clinicians have extensive experience working with clients with schizophrenia. Call us on (08) 8232 2424 to find out more or book an appointment for yourself or a loved one.
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