Although schizophrenia often does require mental health treatment, not every case is as severe as in Shutter Island. At Banyan Mental Health, we are debunking the common schizophrenia myths and giving you the truth on this mental health disorder.
Schizophrenia has long gotten a bad rap in pop culture and the news, but there is a lot more to this disorder than meets the eye.
This is one of the biggest schizophrenia myths. Contrary to how the disease is depicted in the movies, schizophrenics are not all aggressive and violent. In fact, one study found that only 13.2% of schizophrenics had at least one violent offense and one of the biggest factors for violence involved schizophrenics who also suffered from substance abuse comorbidity.1 While some schizophrenics may turn to alcohol or drugs to cope with their disorder which in turn can increase their violent behaviors, treatment for dual diagnosis may be effective. Schizophrenics are also more likely to practice self-harm than to be violent toward others with the reported risk of self-harm for schizophrenics estimated at 22.59%.2
While 70% of schizophrenics will experience hallucinations, it is not the only symptom of schizophrenia.3 Schizophrenics can experience symptoms that are classified into positive and negative symptoms. Hallucinations and delusions are considered positive symptoms of schizophrenia. Another positive symptom includes thought disorders. Less talked about, negative symptoms of schizophrenia include social withdrawal, flattened speech, lack of motivation, and even decline in hygiene.
This is just another one of the popular myths about schizophrenia. While this disorder certainly has a genetic component to it, it is not the only factor that determines whether or not you will get the disease. If only one of your parents has schizophrenia, you only have a 10% chance of having this disorder as well.4 Environmental factors like traumatic life events, prenatal problems, and drug use may also increase your risk.
One of the common misconceptions about schizophrenia is that the disease cannot be treated, and schizophrenics are unable to have a job or a family. While they may not have a typical “normal” life, not all schizophrenics are doomed to spend eternity in a mental hospital. A mental health PHP can be useful for patients struggling with this disorder. Medications and psychosocial therapy can also help schizophrenics manage their symptoms. With the proper treatment, about half of schizophrenics will experience significant improvement or even recover completely.5
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