As with any challenge we face in life, the support of loved ones, faith, and community aids in successfully navigating the path to resolution and healing. When it comes to mental health issues like schizophrenia, deep-rooted misinformation and stigma can isolate and shame individuals. In many cases, it’s unintentional, and sometimes it’s not. By shattering the schizophrenia stigma, we gain a deeper understanding of life with mental illness. Only then can we increase our ability to respond compassionately and effectively.
Replacing Misinformation with Facts
The word stigma has Latin and Greek origins. Stigma was a brand that was cut or burnt onto the body to make a person’s physical or psychological blemishes be known. Though a physical mark isn’t made today, the same concepts are still used to label and discriminate anything from medical conditions to politics.
There is a generally negative perception of individuals with schizophrenia. Here are some of the common beliefs and the real truth behind each one:
- There is no significant link between violence and a schizophrenia diagnosis. People diagnosed with schizophrenia can often experience delusions and hallucinations. The disorder can also impair your emotions, memory, and how you socialize and relate to others.
- Unable to get better or lead a meaningful life
- With treatment, recovery is possible. After diagnosis, many go on and have full, productive lives.
- Having split personalities
- Spit personalities or dissociative identity disorder (DID) is an entirely different mental health condition.
- Unable to hold a job
- Employment is challenging at times for people with schizophrenia, and many face discrimination in the workplace or laser focus on limitations. However, working helps maintain a sense of normalcy vital to managing this condition and staying well.
These perceptions often lower expectations of those affected and change how they are treated by employers, health professionals, family, and others.
The Real Danger of Stigmas
Misinformation is only the beginning of the problems associated with stigmas. Without the correct information, a person experiencing symptoms may not recognize the need to seek help. Negative perceptions can also make individuals too ashamed to seek treatment or confide in others for support. It’s no wonder why only around 50% of those with schizophrenia seek treatment. In the absence of care, symptoms almost always worsen, often to the point of requiring hospitalization.
There’s still much work to do when it comes to changing the overall view of schizophrenia. We can all start by learning more about it and other issues that affect our mental health. Knowledge is power, and we all can change the future of schizophrenia.
Woodland Research Northwest is currently seeking individuals to join upcoming studies for schizophrenia, looking into potential new options. To find whether this may be an option for you, call us at (479) 927-3000, or visit our website.