What is Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia has been a recognised mental health diagnosis for more than a century. Although there is still a lot that we don’t understand about it, we know that a combination of factors can contribute to its’ development including stressful life events, recreational drugs such as cannabis, increased level of the chemical Dopamine in the brain and even brain injury in some cases.
Individuals with Schizophrenia often have disruptive thoughts and an altered understanding and perception of the world. Some individuals often have psychotic symptoms, where they find it difficult to distinguish between perception and reality. Usually, people will hear voices or have hallucinations, and these can be paranoid in nature.
Although a lifelong condition, symptoms can often be managed with medications, however, whereas extensive research is being conducted in the field, there is no cure for the condition.
Myths Surrounding Schizophrenia
Unfortunately, as with many mental health conditions, there is a stigma associated with Schizophrenia in society even today, which is largely due to a lack of understanding or availability of information about it.
One of the most common myths about Schizophrenia is that people that have it are always dangerous. Only 10 – 23% of people with Schizophrenia even exhibit violent behaviour.
Another misconception is that Schizophrenia is a rare condition, when in actual fact it can affect anyone of any race, gender, age or background, affecting almost 300,000 people in the UK.
Additionally, although it is true that traumatic or stressful life events can sometimes contribute, Schizophrenia is not caused solely or always by a childhood of traumatic events, or abuse. Many people have a great childhood but can still develop Schizophrenia in later life.
There are also some people who think that Schizophrenia is the same as Dissociative Identity Disorder (formerly known and Multiple Personality Disorder). Although the word “Schizophrenia” means split brain, this term was coined when we knew very little about the condition, which is now better described as a condition whereby the mind is confused and disordered.
The above are just some of the misconceptions associated with Schizophrenia. Please share this article to increase awareness of the condition and, if you are affected by the disorder and would like help, contact your GP.