What Is ‘Schizophrenia’? Common Myths and Misconceptions

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From The Mirror: “Society has evolved in many ways, but certain things continue to remain taboo. ‘Schizophrenia’ is one ‘mental health condition’ that’s been stigmatised and misunderstood.

Every year on National ‘Schizophrenia’ Awareness Day, which is marked on July 25, the charity Rethink Mental Illness aims to break the stigma around the diagnosis and raise awareness on what it’s like to live with the ‘illness.’

Dr. John Read, professor in clinical psychology at the University of East London and editor of the scientific journal Psychosis and author of Models of Madness: Psychological, Social and Biological Approaches to Psychosis (Routledge), explains the most common myths and misconceptions around schizophrenia . . .

Common myths about schizophrenia

Here are six common myths and misconceptions about ‘schizophrenia,’ according to expert Dr. John Read.

  • ‘Schizophrenics’ are more violent than other people
  • ‘Schizophrenia’ is genetic
  • ‘Schizophrenia’ is not related to childhood trauma
  • ‘Schizophrenia’ means split personality
  • Overactive dopamine system causes ‘schizophrenia’
  • ‘Schizophrenia’ is a chronic illness”

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2 COMMENTS

  1. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-022-04556-w

    I have my own views on all of this. Being a schizophrenic means nobody wants to consider my views because Ì have a mental illness. My grandmother had schizophrenia and now I have it. The research in the linked study above proves FOR ME that there IS a connection between quirks of genes and the risk of developing schizophrenia. I am happy with the Schema study. It consoles me.

    I think there is no person on the planet who has not been traumatized by someone sometime in their years. It is easy to pin the trauma diagnosis on everyone. I do not buy that trauma is behind schizophrenia in each and every instance. I do not buy that trauma is always catastrophic. Some people recycle traumatic events into resilience and courage even heroism and greatness. Think of people who fall off mountains and need helicoptered to hospital. They seldom let such trauma cheat them of their dreams and the riches that come from overcoming challenges. I can see that there is good in the proposal that many distressed people have been wrongly fobbed off with a diagnosis that is not useful to them but this is not true for everyone. I read an MIA article recently that showed that forcing sometime to accept the trauma package of care when they prefer to keep their own diagnosis is like a trauma in itself.

    We must be balanced in our suggestions and realize that our own advice is not going to be right for everyone. Rather having many options on offer is the best way forward, in my opinion.

    For my “expert” view of MY OWN SCHIZOPHRENIA there has been an attempt by people who do not have my illness to tell me all about it. That is as rude as telling people with trauma that they do not have trauma. I think it is a ungracious way to be acting towards ANYONE.
    It is all about the authoritative showy pontificating that comes out of the human wish to control the beliefs of strangers via “consensus opinion” and calling them liars rather than ASKING INDIVIDUALS what THEY feel they have.

    I will say no more on these matters. People can just click on my name Diaphanous Weeping to read my valuable angle on FREE CHOICE for ALL.

    I am not against ANY way. I am not against diagnosis. I am not against binning diagnosis. I am ALWAYS FOR what YOU like.

    This stance is set to get rarer and rarer as people in the future start fighting and telling everyone how they are supposed to feel, think, do, be, know, believe. It is an ugly near future. All I can say though is that there is a good future beyond it.

    Well, that is what I believe, but do feel free to hold your own opinion that sees me as mad. I will agree with that one.

    I am leaving MIA despite the tempting card game of articles. I will not be drawn into this global debate any more.

    • Why it is important to many schizophrenics to regard their condition as schizophrenia is because if you were given an LSD tab every morning in your breakfast bowl without your knowing it you would, after a decade of hourly hellish bad trips want to call it something more than just depression or stress or trauma. You might prefer to think that if you kept hallucinating nazis that those were only due to a silly brain mix up of perceptions, like epilepsy. Something that is NOT your fault but is just a silly medical illness. This does NOT mean that you want pharmacological treatments. You may prefer to use alternative treatments like herbal infusions or acupuncture or God. Having any illness DOES NOT mean that you say yes to appalling treatments. Since most treatments for schizophrenia give more illness in the form of iatrogenic problems, rather like whiskey or cocaine or chemo, you may want your schizophrenia not ever treated. You may just want to have a bunch of natural ways of enduring its most tormenting symptoms. But some people have such a terrible menu of hallucinations hourly for a decade that it is helpful to them to have people tell them that they are just medically unwell and so they should rest and recuperate, like those with epilepsy do. Not every schizophrenic has hellish hallucinations and so they may prefer to not regard their symptoms as an illness. They may prefer to think in trauma terms or political terms. And some may want to say they have no schizophrenia and they were always just being themselves. I am a bit different in that I hallucinate a being who insists I think of him as schizophenia. But THAT is my schizophrenia. But even if I was suffering the effects of trauma, you might say my trauma is ending up causing hallucination of a being who insists I regard him as schizophrenia. What then are you going to say? Are you going to insist I go get therapy? I have had over a decade of therapy. You may say I have trauma so bad that I cannot see it. I just need coaxed and coerced to look deeper for it. Since every life has trauma in it then you may feel confident that this is the case of a cause for my schizophrenia and so you might drum trauma into me as an answer. I had lovely parents and my childhood had nothing remarkable in it. I am never going to believe my dear parents traumatized me. Not in any outstanding way. But my upbringing is my own private knowledge. I owe no trauma confession to anyone. For all these reasons I prefer to regard my illness as a mental illness caused by my lovely eccentric genetics. My genes are evolving into super human schizophrenic talents. My schizophrenia is a culture for one. It is my culture and my ethnicity and I am not ashamed to own it. It is my “difference” to be tolerated. Because if it is not then I prefer to stay in the land of my hallucinations than live in a world of nannying, nitpicking, bickering intolerance.

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