By: Milena Ghebrezghi
Schizophrenia is a chronic and severe mental disorder/ brain disorder that affects approximately two million Americans today and world-wide, about 1 percent of the population is diagnosed with schizophrenia. Schizophrenia affects a person’s thoughts, behaviours and perception as it is commonly known to affect or develop between adolescence and age 30.
Those with schizophrenia are commonly stigmatized as part of the issue is misunderstandings of the disorder. This is due to the many things people believe about schizophrenia that are not true or merely exaggerations.
Thus, there are many things that people may not know about schizophrenia or misunderstand certain things about the disorder and those that have it. Discussing and educating people with proper knowledge of schizophrenia can destigmatize schizophrenia. Most people recognize or assume schizophrenia is a disorder that causes delusions and hallucinations, but there is much more to schizophrenia that many people don’t know about.
So here are the top 5 things you may not know about schizophrenia.
1. Schizophrenia is a form of psychosis
Psychosis is an umbrella term in which covers a range of conditions including schizophrenia. Psychosis tends to decrease normal functioning or the ability to carry out everyday activities. Thus, it can be said that those with schizophrenia can be experiencing psychosis however it is not the other way around.
2. Schizophrenia can be treated but not cured
Many treatments are effective to treat the symptoms and conditions of schizophrenia. This can include cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), antipsychotic medications, or mindfulness treatments. Although schizophrenia can be treated it cannot be cured.
3. People with schizophrenia are more likely to be harmful to themselves than others
Media such as tv shows and movies portray those with schizophrenia as violent or ‘crazy’, however, this is inaccurate. It is known that people with schizophrenia are more likely to commit suicide than to hurt others.
4. Schizophrenia is a spectrum disorder
This means that not everyone experiences the same symptoms and the same level of severity. There are many different types of schizophrenia disorders such as schizoaffective. They may share some common symptoms but it is different for each person and each type of disorder on the spectrum. Thus, many refer to schizophrenia as schizophrenia spectrum disorder or SSD.
5. People with schizophrenia have a greater risk of early death
Patients with schizophrenia are two or three times more likely to die early than people who do not have the disorder. This is due to schizophrenia contributing to a high mortality rate by suicide, cancer, and heart disease. Since drug and alcohol abuse is common among those with schizophrenia, this can contribute to the decline in health as well as many of the antipsychotic medication being prescribed and taken to those who suffer from this disorder.
These are only some things that are not commonly known about people with schizophrenia. It’s important to spread more awareness and knowledge about schizophrenia as well as support and educate those with the disorder.