Schizophrenia: Debunking 5 Myths That Stop You From Getting Help
Schizophrenia is a serious mental disease that can affect a person’s mood, thoughts, and actions. Still, some people who have the disease decide not to seek help.
There are a lot of reasons someone who has schizophrenia might decide not to get treatment. If any of these myths are holding back you or a loved one, it’s time to reconsider. Here’s why.
Myth: I don’t fit the profile of someone with schizophrenia.
The truth is that anyone can develop schizophrenia.
It affects men and women at equal rates. It also impacts all ethnic groups equally. In general, most of the disease’s symptoms begin to develop between the ages of 16 and 30. People usually don’t get the disease until after age 45.
Scientists have learned a lot about the disease. But, they still aren’t sure what exactly causes it. Some factors could include:
- Genes, meaning it runs in the family.
- Environment, like a virus or nutrition problems before birth.
- Brain structure or chemistry.
If you or a loved one show symptoms of schizophrenia, don’t wait to seek help. Scientists now believe that the earlier they detect and treat the disease’s symptoms, the better chance the patient has to treat and limit the symptoms.
Myth: Treatment is a waste. There’s no cure for schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia treatment has come a long way. It’s true there is not yet a total cure for the disease. But treatment can help curb or even stop many of the disease’s serious symptoms, like:
- Hallucinations — seeing things that aren’t really there.
- Delusions — believing things that are not true.
- Thought disorders — stop talking in the middle of a sentence or making up words that have no real meaning.
- Movement disorders — doing the same motions over and over.
- Cognitive symptoms — having trouble making decisions or paying attention.
- Negative symptoms — talking in a dull voice or not showing any emotion.
If you or your loved one suffer from the disease, work with your doctor to find a treatment that’s best. Treatment may be a mix of talk therapy, drugs, and social rehab. With the right combo, people with schizophrenia can go on to complete school, hold a job, make lasting relationships, and take care of their own day-to-day tasks.
Remember that PerformCare has a deep network of providers ready to help. Search our provider directory to find one near you.
Myth: Drug side effects are worse than the disease’s symptoms.
If someone with the disease needs medicines, his or her doctor will usually prescribe antipsychotic medications.
These drugs can work wonders for people with the disease. Most people see symptoms like hallucinations go away within just days. Symptoms like delusions go away within weeks.
Many people experience side effects from these drugs . For others, the side effects are harsher until the body gets used to the medication. Remember to talk to a doctor if your or a loved one do get side effects from any medicines that they find bothersome. The doctor will work to find the right mix that limits side effects and fights the disease’s symptoms.
Do not just stop the medicine. The side effects from stopping suddenly can have an even worse impact than the disease or drug’s side effects.
Myth: People with schizophrenia are violent.
Most people who have schizophrenia are not violent, especially toward other people. In fact, most people with schizophrenia are more likely to hurt themselves than others.
Proper treatment can even help curb risk of violent behavior. People who go untreated are most at risk to show violent behaviors. This means it’s extra important to seek help right away if you or a loved one show signs of the disease.
Myth: I can't help my loved one with their schizophrenia.
People with schizophrenia can often feel alone and ashamed. They will depend on your love and support to help them manage the disease. There are a few steps you can take to help a friend or loved one who has the illness:
- Be supportive and kind.
- Do not allow dangerous behaviors.
- Help find support groups in your area.
- Help set up appointments for treatment.
- Encourage your loved one to stay in treatment.
- Encourage medications to be taken as directed.
Having you on their side can help a friend or loved one recover from symptoms even faster.