If you live with schizophrenia, you may be aware of the stigma that surrounds the disorder. 85 percent of Americans recognize that schizophrenia is a disorder, but only 24 percent are actually familiar with it. Unfortunately, stereotypes about the characteristics of an individual with schizophrenia are still very prevalent. Here are some of the truths about the disorder to help get rid of the stereotypes:
- Myth: Medication turns you into a zombie. Many people usually associate antipsychotic medication for schizophrenia with the patient becoming uninterested, lethargic, vacant and listless. Many believe the medication itself causes these symptoms, but that is not the case. More often than not, the individual exhibits these symptoms prior to taking the medication or due to overmedication
- Myth: Schizophrenia develops abruptly. A sudden change in mental health is rare. Schizophrenia tends to develop slowly with signs showing during adolescence. A decrease in performance in school, social settings, and at work are usual signs. Difficulties managing problems, information, and relationships can also be signs. Symptoms of schizophrenia lie on a continuum in which they start small and grow. An individual in the beginning stages can hear whispers that they can’t make out at first. This then grows into hearing voices. Seeking treatment during the “prodromal” phase, when you hear whispers, is best.
- Myth: Schizophrenia is a character flaw. Lethargic, easily confused, lacking motivation, and lazy, are some of many traits people associate with individuals living with schizophrenia. However this is not the case. Schizophrenia is not merely a character flaw. These “character defects” are symptoms. Schizophrenia is a serious condition and should be treated as such.
- Myth: People with schizophrenia can’t lead productive lives. On the contrary, according to a 10-year study of 130 individuals with schizophrenia and substance abuse, many individuals gained control over both schizophrenia and substance usage, reducing their episodes of homelessness and hospitalization. They were able to live on their own and attain a better quality of life.
Do you or a loved one live with schizophrenia? See if they qualify for Segal’s clinical research study today!
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