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Schizophrenia: Myths, Facts & Treatment

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What is Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a severe mental disorder characterized by disturbances in thoughts, behaviours, and emotions.”

In case of schizophrenia, many individuals and family members fail to recognize what their loved one is suffering from. This is because of two things:

  • Lack of knowledge about the respective illness or disorder
  • Googling about schizophrenia definition and symptoms rather than reaching out to professionals

Research suggests that, despite being a treatable disorder, more than 50% of the individuals with schizophrenia cannot access adequate treatment and 90% of individuals with schizophrenia living in this developing digital India are untreated.

Educating yourself more about the condition is an essential step to recognizing and managing the symptoms of schizophrenia. Here’s a list of five things about schizophrenia which you need to know.

Types of Schizophrenia Based on Symptoms

Since no two individuals are similar to each other, even their symptoms vary, Take a quick sneak peek into the most common schizophrenia symptoms that one experiences.

Based on the symptoms and severity of the condition, Schizophrenia can be classified into the following types –

  • Paranoid
  • Hebephrenic
  • Catatonic
  • Undifferentiated
  • Residual
  • Everyone has different symptoms

The first thing that people need to know about schizophrenia is the symptoms of schizophrenia. An old phrase says “Not all the fingers are the same”, likewise, the symptoms are not the same for all schizophrenic cases.

Yes, there are some common existing symptoms, but every individual is unique and their symptoms differ concerning their mental strength and severity of the disorder. Some may encounter only psychosis and some may have hallucinations. So don’t confuse and conclude anything considering just the symptoms. Click here to know about the causes of schizophrenia.

  • Not all schizophrenics are violent

‘Schizophrenics are always violent’ – This is the most common schizophrenia myth that people generally have about someone suffering from the condition. However, that’s not the case. Individuals with schizophrenia have a high chance of becoming violent if they have a history of substance abuse. Their violence is usually directed towards their family members at home.

In such situations, people tend to cage them in the house or isolate them from society. That’s a mistake as it could further increase their rage and severity of the disorder. The best thing to do here is to recognize the symptoms and reach out for professional help.

  • Cease of medication can cause some serious long-term problems

Individuals may stop taking their prescribed medications regularly when they start feeling a little better. Eventually, they might decide not to take it anymore. Consequently, the individual encounters a lot of mental and physical problems. Even if the individual tries to continue the medication after the break, it could lead to loss of brain functionality and might also increase the severity of the condition to the level it was earlier at.

  • Schizophrenia is completely treatable

To get rid of schizophrenia in the best possible way, one must follow the advice of professionals and stick to the proper medication routine. Delaying the treatment process or withdrawal is completely dangerous for both the individual suffering from the condition as well as the family members. If you happen to notice the symptoms of schizophrenia in your loved one, reach out immediately for professional help. Early identification of the symptoms can help save your loved one.

Causes of Myths Associated with Schizophrenia

Like most mental illnesses, there are several myths and misconceptions surrounding schizophrenia as well. The stigma associated with the condition causes people to have a deeply compromised social standing, a mark of shame or discredit.

Generally, people who have mental disorders are considered lazy, unintelligent, worthless, unsafe to be with, violent, always in need of supervision, possessed by demons, recipients of divine punishment, unpredictable, unreliable, irresponsible, without consciousness, incompetent to marry and raise children, unable to work, unwell throughout life, and in need of hospitalization. This also causes them to be ashamed of themselves and prevent them from seeking help.

There’s no dearth of misconceptions about schizophrenia myths and facts and it shouldn’t lead to any discrimation towards patients with mental disorders. It’s completely  discouraged as effective treatment exists for almost all forms of mental illnesses.

What’s worse is, the stigma experienced by people with a mental illness can be more destructive than the illness itself. Widespread social stigma, myths, and adverse belief systems of mental illness cannot be removed by just increasing public awareness, but rather requires a comprehensive community-based program based on the psychosocial understanding of the disease.

The public perception of the mentally ill as dangerous leads to stigmatization of those with these illnesses and contributes to increasing their disability and depriving them of participation in the life of the community. Several research studies found that the majority of the public still has difficulty accepting mentally ill people as employees, tenants, spouses, or neighbours.

The misconception that most mentally ill people are dangerous is clearly one of the sources of these attitudes. Other factors that influence these common stereotypes include the belief that serious disorders like schizophrenia are untreatable and mental illness make an individual less intelligent and less capable of reasoning like an adult.

One of the research studies found that knowledge of the treatability of schizophrenia positively changed participants’ attitudes toward the mentally ill and even reduced the perception of the dangerousness.

Unfortunately, insurance companies are still allowed to discriminate against the mentally ill by placing strict limits and exclusions on what treatments they pay for, reinforcing the notion that mental illnesses are not the same as other medical disorders, and are less treatable. Discrimination against those with mental illness in health insurance also contributes to gaps between public perceptions and reality.

Stigma places obstructions to social success for patients. Besides, the attitudes of the public toward them are often internalized and results in lowered self-esteem, hopelessness, and despair for sufferers. Families also suffer from stigma.

A civilized society must reject old stereotypes and biases and dismantle discrimination and stigmatization. The media also have a responsibility to report accurately and fairly, correcting misconceptions when necessary to reduce the fear of schizophrenia.

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Schizophrenia Myths and Facts

Here are a few of the Schizophrenia Myths and Facts.

  • Schizophrenia Myth 1:

It is a rare disease.

Schizophrenia is not as rare as it seems. It affects 1 in 1000 people worldwide. Furthermore, it ranks among the top 10 illnesses causing death.

  • Schizophrenia Myth 2:

People with schizophrenia can’t hold on to a job.

Schizophrenia can make it harder for people with the condition to land a job and go to work every day. But with the right treatment, many people can find a position that suits their skills and abilities.

  • Schizophrenia Myth 3:

Schizophrenia makes people lazy.

People with schizophrenia may have a hard time taking care of their own daily needs, such as getting dressed and bathing. This does not mean they’re “lazy.” They just need a little extra help with their daily routine.

  • Schizophrenia Myth 4:

If a person has schizophrenia, they belong in a mental hospital.

There was a time when people with mental illness were thrown in mental asylums or even in prison. But now that we understand more about this disease, fewer people need to be placed in long-term mental health facilities. Most people with schizophrenia can live with their families or in supportive housing in the community.

  • Schizophrenia Myth 5:

People with schizophrenia can’t lead productive lives.

Many individuals can lead happy and productive lives. Schizophrenia is an illness like diabetes and hypertension that needs to be maintained and monitored. With the right treatment, people with schizophrenia can lead normal, happy, and productive lives.

  • Schizophrenia Myth 6:

People with schizophrenia have lesser intellectual capacity.

There have been studies that found people with schizophrenia have more trouble with tests of mental function, including attention, learning, and memory. Yet that doesn’t mean they’re not intelligent.

Many creative and smart people throughout history have had schizophrenia, such as – Russian ballet dancer, Vaslav Nijinsky, and Nobel Prize-winning mathematician, John Nash. Scientists have even discovered a gene linking mental disorders like schizophrenia to creativity and intellect.

  • Schizophrenia Myth 7:

People with schizophrenia have multiple personalities.

This is one of the biggest misunderstandings that people have about schizophrenia. An American-based charity conducted a poll on this question and found that: 64% of the population believe schizophrenia and multiple personalities are the same.

A person with schizophrenia doesn’t have two different personalities. Instead, he or she has false ideas or has lost touch with reality. Schizophrenia and multiple personality disorder are two different and unrelated conditions.

  • Schizophrenia Myth 8:

People with schizophrenia are dangerous, violent, and unpredictable, and out of control.

When their illness is treated with medication and psychosocial interventions, individuals with schizophrenia are no more violent than the general population.

In movies and TV shows, the crazed killer is often the character with schizophrenia. That’s not the case in real life. Even though people with schizophrenia can act unpredictably at times, most aren’t violent, especially if they’re getting treated. When people with schizophrenia do commit violent acts, they usually have another condition, like childhood conduct problems or substance abuse.

  • Schizophrenia Myth 9:

Schizophrenia is caused by bad parenting.

Some people think that schizophrenia is caused due to bad parenting. But, that’s not the case. Schizophrenia is a mental illness, and there could be many possible reasons behind the disorder –

  • Environmental factor: Studies suggest, apart from depression and stress, other factors that may lead to schizophrenia are low oxygen levels during birth, parental loss, and high rage.
  • Chemical imbalance: Abnormalities in the brain chemicals may lead to this disorder.
  • Substance abuse: Alcohol, drugs such as LSD, weed or marijuana can also possibly make an individual schizophrenic. There is a high chance of developing symptoms of hallucinations, abnormal emotions, and disorganized thinking following the continued use of drugs.

  • Schizophrenia Myth 10:

If a parent has schizophrenia, children will get it too and it is purely genetic.

Studies have shown that in pairs of identical twins (who share an identical genome) the prevalence of developing the illness is 48 percent. Genes do play a role in schizophrenia, but just because one of the parents has the condition doesn’t mean the children are destined to get it. If one parent has schizophrenia, the risk of developing the condition is about 10%. Having more than one family member with schizophrenia raises the risk further.

Along with genetics, research has shown that stress and family environment can play a big role in increasing a person’s susceptibility to psychosis. While we can’t change genetic vulnerability, we can reduce the amount of stress in someone’s life, build coping skills to improve the way we respond to stress and create a protective low-key, calm family environment without a lot of conflict and tension in hopes of reducing the risk of illness progression.

  • Schizophrenia Myth 11:

Antipsychotic medications are worse than the illness itself.

When we think of antipsychotic medication for schizophrenia, we automatically think of adjectives like lethargic, listless, uninterested, and vacant. Many believe medication causes these sorts of symptoms. However, most often these symptoms are either from schizophrenia itself or because of overmedication.

Medication is the mainstay of schizophrenia treatment. Antipsychotic medications effectively reduce hallucinations, delusions, confusing thoughts, and bizarre behaviors. These agents can have severe side effects and can be fatal, but that is rare. Antipsychotic drugs are one of the safest groups of drugs in common use and are the greatest advancements in the treatment of schizophrenia that has occurred to date.

  • Schizophrenia Myth 12:

Individuals with schizophrenia can never regain normal functioning.

Unlike dementia, which worsens over time or doesn’t improve, schizophrenia seems to be a reversible problem. No line once crossed signifies that there’s no hope for a person with schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia can be hard to treat, but it’s not impossible. With the right medicine and therapy, about 25% of people with schizophrenia will have a full recovery. Another 50% will see some improvement in their symptoms. Many people with schizophrenia can live full, productive lives.

  • Schizophrenia Myth 13:

Delusions and hallucinations are the only symptoms

Many people often believe that delusions and hallucinations are the only symptoms of this illness. Some of the other common symptoms of the illness are:

  • Illogical thinking
  • Disorganized speech
  • Stupor- No response and movement in the individual’s body and mind
  • Difficulty in feeling pleasure
  • False, fixed beliefs
  • Suicidal thoughts

How Is It Treated?

There is no standard way to treat Schizophrenia, but early diagnosis and schizophrenia treatment can help get the symptoms under control before it escalates and develops into serious complications.

When you receive proper treatment from the best hospital for schizophrenia treatment, you have a high chance of leading a productive life. The treatments can relieve many symptoms. The most effective treatments provided by the best schizophrenia treatment centers in India include the following:

  • Medicines like antipsychotic drugs
  • Therapy like group therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Self-help resources
  • Psychological counseling methods

Following an effective treatment plan that is set by the best schizophrenia doctors in India will help reduce your episodes and prevent your symptoms from getting worse. The treatments will ensure long term results and prevent any relapses.

Let us now talk about how to treat schizophrenia after a confirmed diagnosis of the schizophrenia mental disorder. There is no cure for schizophrenia but the symptoms can be managed using treatment modalities perfected by years of research.

When it comes to schizophrenia treatment in India, Cadabams offers the most advanced care that can help patients ease the symptoms to a great extent and improve their quality of life. Here are the various kinds of treatment options for those suffering from Schizophrenia:

Medications:

There is no cure for schizophrenia but with the help of antipsychotic medications, the patients can deal with the symptoms better. These medications help stop hallucinations, delusions and ward off the symptoms of psychosis. If and when psychosis occurs, the doctors might prescribe immediate hospitalization. The common medications prescribed by doctors are described below.

The first generation of antipsychotic medications is essentially a class of drugs that were launched in the 1950s. These are also called typical antipsychotics as they are prescribed for a lot of other mental health problems similar to schizophrenia.

This group of antipsychotics tends to have similar side effects like problems with movement, also known as extrapyramidal symptoms, issues of drowsiness or change in sleep patterns, and dry mouth due to dehydration.

A group of researchers developed a newer group of antipsychotics in recent times that are often called the second generation of antipsychotics or atypical antipsychotics.

The side effects of these drugs do not cause the movement problems of first-generation medicines or typical antipsychotic drugs. However, they have their own set of side effects too. They are more likely to cause weight gain and other problems with metabolism, among other side effects.


Schizophrenia Rehabilitation

Schizophrenia treatments often include certain social measures that can help the patient improve their social and communication skills. Along with social training, Schizophrenia rehabilitation centers include individual counseling, group counseling to help the patient cope with the symptoms of schizophrenia.

Vocational rehabilitation

Often conducted with the help of social workers or NGOs, vocational rehabilitation aims to help patients develop skills that can help them maintain a regular job easily.

Alternative treatments for schizophrenia

In the path towards discovering a cure for schizophrenia, there are certain treatments that doctors are prescribing recently. These include food supplements besides the usual medicines. Such supplements consist of vitamin treatment, fish oil supplements, glycine-enriched foods, and diet management.

Cadabams is one of the best schizophrenia treatment centers in India where the expert medical team believes in using holistic approaches to treat a patient and help them deal with their daily life smoothly. By addressing all aspects of an individual’s health, physical and mental, it becomes much easier to manage and regulate mood.

  • Family therapy and education: This schizophrenia treatment plays an important role in helping a schizophrenic patient. Since, they suffer from a condition where they are unable to be independent and take care of themselves, having a supportive network of friends and family is crucial. Hence, family members should learn and understand schizophrenia, its causes, effects, and symptoms, so that they can help their loved one.

  • Social skill training: Is provided by schizophrenia treatment centers in India, and it benefits the patient because it teaches them the value of interpersonal relationships. The treatment teaches the patient to recognize and identify social cues, and how they should respond to them, appropriately.

Statistics

  • Schizophrenia affects 20 million people worldwide.
  • As per the Epidemiological Reviews, in 2008, new cases of schizophrenia affected 1.5 per 10,000 people annually.
  • Schizophrenia is among the top fifteen leading causes of disability in individuals across the world.
  • About twenty percent of schizophrenia will attempt suicide at least once, and approximately five percent will die by suicide.
  • Black Americans have the highest prevalence of self-reported psychotic symptoms in their lifetime as compared to Latino Americans and White Americans, as per the Psychiatric Services, 2013. The journal also stated that the lifetime prevalence of self-reported psychotic symptoms is the lowest in Asian Americans.

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FAQs

  • What are the early symptoms of schizophrenia?

Before schizophrenia develops as a full-blown disorder, people having the condition may exhibit subtle symptoms called prodromal symptoms. The early signs that may surface in people with prodromal schizophrenia are fear, anger, mistrust, aggression, agitation, inappropriate emotional responses, general discontent, social isolation, borderline narcissism, etc.

  • What is the typical age of onset for schizophrenia?

The chances of developing schizophrenia are equal in both men and women, but men tend to get brain disorder slightly earlier. Usually, the onset of schizophrenia in men can be seen somewhere between their late teens to early twenties, whereas women get diagnosed between their late twenties to early thirties. In general, people don’t develop schizophrenia before their teenage or after they have crossed forty.

  • What to do if your close one is showing signs of schizophrenia?

If you realize that your loved one is showing the signs of schizophrenia, you must talk to them about the concerns. You can calmly advise them to seek professional help as well as support them during their treatment journey and post-treatment care.

  • What voices do schizophrenics hear?

Auditory hallucinations are common in people with schizophrenia. The voices they hear can get louder and persuasive over time. Some of the sounds they might hear are – screeching sounds, painfully loud music themes, mean comments from people.

  • Can a person with schizophrenia act normal?

It is normal for individuals to think or act in ways that resemble the symptoms of schizophrenia, for example, being overly anxious, lacking coherence in speech, inability to think straight, etc. However, this doesn’t mean they have schizophrenia.

On the other hand, people with schizophrenia may act normally even when they are experiencing hallucinations or delusions. The behavior of schizophrenic individuals may keep becoming bizarre if they stop taking medications and return to normal with the right treatment.

Why Cadabams?

It is extremely challenging to live with schizophrenia. At Cadabams, we aim at helping individuals get an early diagnosis and offer them the best possible treatment for a better and healthy life. Over the years, our team has gained expertise in dealing with the most complex cases of schizophrenia and its associated disorders. Our treatment procedures are tailored around the individual requirements of patients led by a team of the best mental healthcare professionals in the country.

As schizophrenia impacts the lives of the patient’s family and loved ones, Cadabams also involve the family in the initial assessment process and throughout the treatment procedure. We have built the community on the foundations of compassion and mutual support that help us to deliver comprehensive care including group therapy, life, and work skills for better health and recovery. The environment at our treatment facility is aimed at providing each patient with appropriate care to bring long-lasting behavioral changes that they can carry outside their treatment as well.

Learn More About Signs and Symptoms of Schizophrenia

As we just saw, there are quite a few misconceptions about schizophrenia.  Some causes keep these myths alive, such as the media’s repetition of them, and the lack of education surrounding this illness to those who have not personally experienced it in themselves or their family.

Big myths are hard to destroy, but with time, we can all do it together – Arm ourselves with knowledge so we can refute any of these myths as we encounter them in our daily life!

If you need more information about Schizophrenia Myths and Facts and schizophrenia treatment or have any queries, do send it to us at info@cadabams.org or visit us at Cadabam’s. Alternatively, you reach us on our 24/7 helpline number- +91 96111 94949.

Disclaimer – We strive to treat our patients with dignity and the utmost sensitivity. We understand that addiction is a disease and not a sign of weakness. The term alcoholic or alcoholism is used not in a derogatory fashion but to remain relevant to user search trends and common usage. In case you or a loved are struggling with alcohol abuse and share a unique viewpoint on how we can improve this content for our readers, please reach out to us at info@cadabams.org

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