Myths About Schizophrenia

GinaMarie Guarino, LMHC

Myths About Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a complicated disorder that is often misunderstood by the general public. It is a disorder that causes many unique and sometimes scary symptoms that are often misunderstood by others.

It can be easy to draw conclusions about people who suffer from schizophrenia. People often believe negative things about schizophrenia, but many of the things you hear about it are myths. Common myths about schizophrenia include:

1. People with schizophrenia have multiple personalities.

This is not true. Schizophrenia is often mistaken for dissociative identity disorder (DID). Schizophrenia and DID are two different diagnoses. The myth stems from the symptoms: hallucinations, psychosis and mood swings. Severe cases can look like the taking on different personalities, but this is not the case.

2. People with schizophrenia cannot lead normal lives.

Schizophrenia does cause scary and difficult symptoms. The symptoms are sometimes severe, but with treatment, a patient can live a normal life. Treatment often involves education and medication to keep the symptoms under control. With commitment to treatment, a patient can learn how to cope and live a live as normal as anyone else.

3. People with schizophrenia are crazy and dangerous.

Schizophrenia is a mental illness that can cause people to seem odd or not act like themselves. The symptoms of schizophrenia are unusual and can make people feel uncomfortable. This leads to the belief that schizophrenia makes people lose their minds and become dangerous. This is not the case. People with schizophrenia are suffering from mental illness.

Schizophrenia causes people to act erratically. With treatment and medication, a person will remain stabilized. In short, people with schizophrenia are not crazy or dangerous. In rare cases, untreated patients may lose touch with reality. This is not the case for all who suffer from schizophrenia.

4. Having schizophrenia means you are ‘psychotic’.

A person with schizophrenia is not psychotic. Psychosis is a symptom of schizophrenia, but is not present in all cases. Psychosis is a condition in which a person loses touch with reality. It is typically temporary, only lasting a few days. A person with schizophrenia may suffer from a psychotic episode. With medical intervention, he or she will re-stabilize.

5. You can’t develop schizophrenia if it does not run in your family.

A person can develop schizophrenia if it does not run in his or her family. Schizophrenia does have a strong genetic component. This means people with a genetic predisposition for schizophrenia are at higher risk. This does not mean that you must be genetically predisposed to develop schizophrenia. The following factors also contribute to the onset of schizophrenia:

History of trauma or abuse.

A history of trauma or abuse puts people at risk for developing schizophrenia.

Traumatic birth.

A traumatic birth can cause complications that result in schizophrenia. Some prenatal conditions also put the baby at higher risk.

Environmental influences.

Growing up in a chaotic environment may cause a person to develop schizophrenia. Children who suffered from emotional and behavioral issues are also at higher risk.

Quality of upbringing.

Those who had a non-nurturing, cold, or unsafe upbringing may develop schizophrenia. Children with parents with substance abuse issues or households with domestic violence are at high risk.


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