Schizophrenia affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves. It can be difficult to diagnose because it shares some of the same symptoms as other mental health disorders. It affects between 150,000 and 200,000 Australians.
There are many misconceptions about schizophrenia. Unfortunately, these misconceptions can be harmful to people living with the condition.
Part of the problem is that schizophrenia is still misunderstood. And there’s also a lot of misinformation. That’s why it’s so important to bust the myths about the condition.
We thought we’d debunk some of the more common misconceptions about schizophrenia during Schizophrenia Awareness Week.
People living with schizophrenia have split personalities
Sometimes schizophrenia is confused with dissociative identity disorder, a split personality disorder. This isn’t true. Schizophrenia has many different symptoms that affect thoughts and behaviours. People with schizophrenia may have trouble determining what’s real and what isn’t, but they don’t have a split personality.
People living with schizophrenia are violent
This is another common misconception. This couldn’t be further from the truth. People with schizophrenia are more likely to be victims of violence than commit violence themselves. This is because they tend to withdraw from social life and may have difficulty communicating and defending themselves.
People who have schizophrenia struggle to keep a job
Another misunderstanding is that it’s hard for people with schizophrenia to keep a job due to its symptoms, such as hallucinations or delusions. This isn’t true. With proper support and encouragement from family and friends, people with schizophrenia can overcome barriers and find their perfect job.
Schizophrenia can’t be treated
Many people believe there’s no treatment for schizophrenia. However, this isn’t true. People with schizophrenia may sometimes struggle to manage their condition, but the right treatments can help. These include psychotherapy, medication, and lifestyle changes such as stress reduction and regular exercise. People can also find support by connecting with others who have similar experiences.
How can we support people living with schizophrenia?
We can support people living with schizophrenia by being sensitive to the unique challenges they may face. Many people with schizophrenia experience negative attitudes and are stigmatised, making it hard to form relationships or participate in their communities.
Through education and rejecting harmful stereotypes, we can help foster an environment of understanding where people feel supported and accepted. We can create a world where people living with schizophrenia feel safe and valued in our community.
By sharing truths about schizophrenia, we can create a more supportive and inclusive society.