Schizophrenia is a chronic brain disorder. Which is uncommon and affects less than one percent of people who live in the United States. Even though the disorder is uncommon. It has been portrayed a lot in movies and TV shows, leading to a lot of misconceptions and stereotypes about people who live with schizophrenia. Many medical disorders are misconstrued in the media. But these misconstructions do unfortunately impact people who actually have the disorders; as they are often afraid to tell their loved ones the truth or seek help if they think they are suffering from one.
As schizophrenia is becoming better understood. More and more studies are conducted on the disorder, many misconceptions are finally being undone. If you know someone with schizophrenia, you shouldn’t be afraid of them or assume that they have split personalities. Just like anyone else, people who have schizophrenia should be treated with kindness and understanding. Being mistreated due to stereotypes can worsen the experience of certain symptoms of schizophrenia such as distorted perception and depression.
Stereotypes of Schizophrenia
These are the most common stereotypes surrounding schizophrenia, and why you shouldn’t believe them.
1. If a Family Member Has Schizophrenia, You Do Too
It is true that schizophrenia may occasionally run in families, and scientists do believe that some genetic factors play a role in the onset of the condition. However, just because a family member has schizophrenia, this doesn’t mean that other members will have the condition as well. Genetic studies that have been done concerning schizophrenia suggest that there are many different genes that play into developing the condition. And not one single gene by itself causes schizophrenia.
If you do have a family member who’s lived with schizophrenia. And you believe you are experiencing symptoms of the disorder. You can speak to a medical professional and express your concerns. BetterHelp is an online therapy provider that has resources for people who live with schizophrenia as well as many other medical conditions. You can be matched with a therapist who will work with you through your options and provide professional advice.
2. Everyone Who Experiences Schizophrenia Has Split Personalities
It is true that typical positive symptoms of schizophrenia include hearing voices and seeing things that aren’t really there. However, these symptoms abnormally are present and not everyone who has schizophrenia experiences them. Seeing and hearing things also is not equal to having a split personality or acting like somebody completely different.
3. People Who Have Schizophrenia Are Extremely Violent
While some people who live with schizophrenia may exhibit bizarre behavior, this behavior is not necessarily violent and symptoms of schizophrenia overall do not tend to be violent. Instead, people who have schizophrenia often lose the ability to speak, have confused thinking or trouble with logical thinking, and experience distorted perceptions. This does not mean that they necessarily pose a danger to themselves or others. Each instance of schizophrenia is different, and people exhibit different symptoms. If you know someone who has schizophrenia, it’s wrong to immediately assume that they will be violent or dangerous toward you.
4. People Living With Schizophrenia Can’t Live Normal Lives
Many people believe that those who have schizophrenia end up living in hospitals or are homeless. However, people with schizophrenia are able to live independently on their own, in group homes, or with their families, and they often live normal and successful lives. They are able to engage in school and work, have relationships, and achieve independence.
Although schizophrenia is a disorder that can’t be cured, it can be treated and scientists are learning more and more about the disorder, leading to better treatment. Unfortunately if schizophrenia goes untreated, symptoms can become disabling over time. Oftentimes, a whole perception of schizophrenia is based on an interaction with one person who has not had their schizophrenia properly treated.
While those who experience schizophrenia do live normal and successful lives, they do unfortunately tend to die at a younger age than the general population. However, this is not solely due to the presence of schizophrenia. Instead, it’s because of co-occurring medical conditions that often exist alongside schizophrenia, such as diabetes and heart disease. If you or someone you know has schizophrenia, seek treatment and try to keep the treatment ongoing. More than anything, you should try to be kind and respectful toward someone who has schizophrenia. Instead of judging them based on dangerous–and untrue–stereotypes.
Marie Miguel Biography
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health-related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.