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Thursday, January 7, 2010

10 myths about Schizophrenia

10 Myths About Schizophrenia

Of all the mental illnesses on the planet, few remain as heavily and tragically misunderstood as schizophrenia.Educating society on the true concepts, nuances, and machinations behind schizophrenia is the best way to ensure that its victims learn how to chip away at the symptoms and go on to lead full, enjoyable, and productive lives with the proper care and guidance from a mental health professional.

1. Schizophrenia involves multiple personalities.
One of the most prevailing misconceptions regarding schizophrenia revolves around confusing it with Dissociative Identity Disorder. Not only do they have very little in common, but they belong to entirely different classifications in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition, Text Revision. DID, formerly known as multiple personality disorder, falls under the label of a dissociative disorder.

2. Schizophrenics are inherently dangerous people.
As with most mental illnesses, many people falsely adhere to the believe that all victims suffering from any such symptoms pose an immediate and non-negotiable threat to themselves and others. Schizophrenia is no different.
In reality, those with schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders only comprise anywhere between 1% to 5% of violent crimes against other individuals. 10%, tragically, end up committing suicide – making those with schizophrenia more likely to stand as a danger to themselves rather than others. Many of them feel pushed to the brink of killing themselves due to extreme levels of marginalization and misunderstanding courtesy of mainstream society.

3. There is no reason for schizophrenics to receive psychotherapeutic treatment – they’ll just keep relapsing.
Treatment for schizophrenia usually involves psychosocial therapy, cognitive behavior therapy, self-help groups, family therapy, antipsychotic medications, or some combination thereof. By learning how to take control of their illness, schizophrenics may very well end up leading happy, productive lives once the proper blend of therapy and/or medication has been established.

4. Schizophrenics are generally too far gone to work, and the ones who can rarely rise above the menial level.
In reality, schizophrenics run the gamut from a complete inability to work to highly functioning in an impressively accomplished career. Nobel Prize-winning mathematician and academically esteemed professor at Princeton and MIT John Forbes Nash, Jr. battles paranoid schizophrenia, as does bestselling author Robert M. Pirsig. All individuals – regardless of their mental health status – possess an individualized aptitude and capability for certain jobs, and schizophrenics are no different than anyone else in that matter.

5. Schizophrenia is just a clinical term for a character defect.
Along with most other mental illnesses such as depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and eating disorders, one of the most common misconceptions about schizophrenia revolves around its status as a personal flaw instead of a serious medical condition. Due to its inclusion in the DSM-IV, TR, an official diagnostic manual in the psychology community, schizophrenia and all its subtypes are considered something far more serious than a mere chip in an individual’s character. It is a mental illness and must be approached and treated as such by the doctors, friends, and family surrounding the afflicted.

6. Symptoms of schizophrenia are relatively homogeneous.
Because medical professionals recognize 5 different subtypes of the disorder (7 in Europe, the actual symptoms of schizophrenia remain far more diverse than many people think. All of them share at least 3 diagnostic criteria, with variances between the subtypes and some individuals. In order to be considered schizophrenic, a patient must display two or more of the following symptoms: auditory or visual hallucinations, delusions, a thought disorder, disorganized speech and behavior, catatonia, avolition, affective flattening, or alogia. He or she must also suffer from a social and/or career disruption, and all symptoms must persist for a minimum of 6 months. It must also be determined that the patient does not suffer from a mood disorder, pervasive developmental disorder, a medical condition or medication which may artificially create the symptoms in an otherwise psychologically stable individual, or chronic substance abuse.

7. Schizophrenia is an extremely rare disorder.
Approximately 1.1% of Americans over the age of 18 receive a diagnosis of schizophrenia every year. However, due to mainstream society shaming and stigmatizing the mentally ill and the psychotherapeutic avenues they need to get better, it is sadly possible that many more suffer from the disease and never seek out professional guidance. As with many mental health conflicts, schizophrenia remains entirely blind when it comes to gender, sexual/gender orientation, ethnicity, or nation of origin. Symptoms begin their onset between the ages of 16 and 30, with males developing them earlier than females and delusions generally appearing first.

8. The most defining characteristic of schizophrenia involves hearing voices in one’s head.
Thanks to media stereotyping, the most “iconic” (as it were element of schizophrenia involves auditory hallucinations. While they certainly one of the many possible diagnostic criteria of the illness, not all cases of schizophrenia involve the clich├ęd voices in the head. Typically, paranoid schizophrenics suffer the most frequently and the most intensely from auditory hallucinations. Other types may experience them, though in the cases where they are present it is typically more sporadic and significantly less severe. Schizophrenia encompasses a diverse set of symptoms – only few of which genuinely unite all 5 recognized subtypes in the United States, and auditory hallucinations do not even stand among them.

9. A schizophrenic may only undergo rehabilitation upon attaining stability.
Once an individual has received a formal diagnosis of schizophrenia, rehabilitation must begin immediately in order to infuse him or her with all the tools necessary for the simultaneously most effective and swift method of treatment. Waiting too long for a patient to achieve stability prior to initiating the rehabilitation process may mean the difference between a recovery and merely doing better. Blending rehab with psychotherapy has proven a far more successful method of treatment than stabilizing the patient first.

10. Schizophrenics have to be medicated for the rest of their lives.
For schizophrenia patients who find a psychotherapy and medication regimen that efficiently quells their symptoms, the recovery rate remains startlingly high. Some professionals estimate between 25% and 50% of the schizophrenic population cease to display signs of the disorder upon responsible long-term cessation of their medications. However, whether or not they achieve a full recovery hinges on a number of different factors. First, a suitable combination of one or more types of therapy as well as medication must be found. Second, the victim must never waiver on taking medication as directed. With some antipsychotic medications, symptoms may disappear within days of beginning – but just because they seem gone does not mean they have completely disappeared. The patient absolutely needs to stick with his or her doctor’s orders, as the medications used to treat schizophrenia are highly volatile and may cause irreparable physiological damage if abused. Third, once the schizophrenic and his or her doctor determine that the time is right to end medicated treatment, it must be done so with progressively smaller doses over time.

Suzanne Smith
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There is a high ignorance of how important is the diet in mental health. Most of the people consider with mental problems are not scaner properly for physical ailments. The enviormental polution affects are cells and can provoke disfunction at that level with the consequences to are mental and physical stability and therefore homoestasis. Psychiatric drugs have become an abuse in patients, extremely side effects too similar to mental illness are not explained, and therefore is not that the called schizophrenia is an illness for life, the truth is that that mental stated treated with psychiatric drugs provoke an addicted patient and the artificial effects on our neuronal mappings have no way back. It is need it more places like Soteria House (Loren Moshe) places where the human being can be understood and supported. Although I agree what will happen with the pharmaceutical economy and the free "guinea pigs" that helps to maintain mental industry?.
Mental illness have become a big bussines, the ignorance is that is like a lotery and next one can be the same person that is abusing from the society, or the one that ignoring the facts close the eyes and continu ignoring the reality and forcing people to take drugs that are most of the time still experimentations on long term.