For people with schizophrenia, it is upsetting and frankly irritating when people make broadly inaccurate statements about their condition. Unfortunately, it remains one of the most stigmatised mental illnesses out there, simply because there are so many myths surrounding it. On World Schizophrenia Day, we're tackling six of them head on...

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Photo Credit: Pixabay

1. Schizophrenia means having a split personality

For some reason, people frequently presume schizophrenia is the same as Multiple Personality Disorder or, as it is now known, Dissociative Personality Disorder. In actual fact, schizophrenia's most distinctive symptom is the inability to tell reality from delusion; split thoughts and emotions, rather than actual individual personalities.

2. Schizophrenics are dangerous

I always think it's strange to call anyone with a mental illness "dangerous" unless they have actively showed signs of violence or aggression. After all, anyone has the potential to be dangerous. People with schizophrenia are particularly vulnerable to the world, and much more likely to be a danger to themselves than anyone else.

3. Schizophrenics cannot function in normal society

There's absolutely no reason why someone with schizophrenia cannot hold down a job, raise a family, be an upstanding member of the community or own a business. For some, the condition can be seriously debilitating, but for others it can be fairly easily regulated by antipsychotic medication and therapy. Long-term hospitalisation is rarely needed when outpatient support is readily available.

4. Schizophrenics can be fine one minute and then break down the next

It's not common for schizophrenia to cause rapid mood swings; symptoms tend to develop overtime. To an outsider perspective, it may appear to be a rapid change, but for family and friends, they would likely notice signs of a changing mental state over a period of several months.

5. All schizophrenics are paranoid

Paranoid schizophrenia is the most common subtype of schizophrenia with symptoms including long-term auditory hallucinations and other perceptual disturbances. However, There are symptoms that are not common within this subtype that are usually associated with disorganised-type schizophrenia; these include disorganised speech and behaviour, and catatonia. People with disorganised schizophrenia (also known as hebephrenia) do not often experience delusional episodes as a paranoid schizophrenic would.

6. Schizophrenia is caused by childhood neglect or abuse

While some mental health conditions can be caused by poor upbringing or early trauma, schizophrenia is often developed after long periods of extreme stress, substance abuse or through genetics.

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