What is Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a mental health disorder that affects roughly 1.1 percent of adults in the United States today, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). It is marked by disruptions in thought processes, perceptions, emotional responsiveness, and social interactions.
According to the American Psychiatric Association,
“When schizophrenia is active, symptoms can include delusions, hallucinations, trouble with thinking and concentration, and lack of motivation. However, with treatment, most symptoms of schizophrenia will greatly improve.”
Schizophrenia is a widely misunderstood disorder that has been shaped by pop culture and movies. In this article, you will find some of the common myths, symptoms, and treatment options available to friends and family members with schizophrenia.
1. People with schizophrenia have multiple personalities.
This myth is one of the biggest misunderstandings about schizophrenia. Many people assume that the condition involves split personalities, which means someone thinks they are multiple people. Schizophrenia instead causes people to lose touch with reality, but having multiple personality disorder is unrelated.
2. Schizophrenia makes people dangerous.
In popular culture, individuals with schizophrenia are viewed as sadistic, dangerous, and unpredictable. But in reality, the majority of these individuals are not violent at all.
This stigma can be challenging for sufferers to overcome. People with schizophrenia have less opportunity for employment, higher stress, and lower self-esteem. The social rejection that comes with the stigma around schizophrenia can be very hard to surmount.
3. Schizophrenia only involves delusions and hallucinations.
Because psychotic symptoms are so rare, popular culture likes to concentrate on these symptoms. But the idea that schizophrenia only involves delusions are hallucinations is wrong.
Along with those two cognitive symptoms, many individuals experience low motivation, disorganized speech, low sex drive, lack of desire for social relationships, and dull emotions. They may also have trouble performing difficult cerebral tasks.
4. Schizophrenia can’t be treated.
In the old days, people with schizophrenia were often sent to institutions to live out their lives. Little was known about schizophrenia at this time, and because of old movies and stigma, there are still many misconceptions about treatment.
Today, even though schizophrenia cannot be cured, it can be treated successfully. And with proper treatment, many people appear to be completely healthy.
5. Schizophrenia is caused by bad parenting.
It has been rumored that schizophrenia is the result of bad parenting, particularly on the part of the mother. Although there can be some genetic passing-down of the disorder, there is no evidence to suggest bad parenting is a cause.
Signs of Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia symptoms are typically diagnosed in the late teen years to the early thirties. The signs usually surface earlier in males than in females.
The disorder has a range of signs from problems with thinking, behavior, and emotions. The signs and symptoms might vary, but almost always include delusions and hallucinations. Here are the most common signs:
Delusions are common for people with schizophrenia. This is the belief that something is firmly happening, while in reality, it is not. A person with schizophrenia might believe that they’re being harassed by someone, or another person is in love with them. The lines of reality can get very blurry.
This usually involves seeing or hearing something that does not exist. A common hallucination is hearing voices. For the person with the symptoms, the hallucinations are very real.
For some, their communication becomes very impaired because of their irregular thinking patterns. The person might have trouble getting across what they are thinking or trying to say.
This behavior might show up in a variety of forms. The person might have trouble sitting up or standing straight; they may resist instruction or move excessively. And other indicators may include feelings of sadness, emptiness, feelings of worthlessness, or other symptoms of depression.
This refers to not being able to function normally, such as neglecting personal hygiene or appearing to lack emotion. They may also withdraw from social situations and not be able to experience physical pleasure.
Both type and severity of symptoms can change and vary over time. Sometimes the symptoms go into remission for a while and then return with increased intensity.
The good news is that there is great schizophrenia help out there. No one person is alike, so it is important to connect with medical professionals to get an accurate evaluation and personalized treatment plan for your thought disorder.
Some of the many treatment options include antipsychotic medications, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), group and family therapy, education, and individual psychotherapy. All of these treatments can work alone or alongside one another to develop a well-rounded, tailored plan to address specific needs and manage stress.
If you suspect that you or a loved one may be experiencing symptoms of schizophrenia, please contact us at Pasadena Villa for proper diagnosis and treatment. It is never too late to get treatment and get your life back.