May is all about mental health awareness, and we’re continuing the trend by recognizing Schizophrenia Awareness Week (May 19 – 26). Schizophrenia is a chronic neurological condition that affects people’s sensory perceptions and sense of being, and it’s time to dispel the myths about the condition.
Myth: Everyone who has schizophrenia knows that they have an illness.
Fact: Many people who have schizophrenia wait months, sometimes years, and suffer needlessly before a proper diagnosis is made and treatment begins.
Myth: People with schizophrenia are dangerous.
Fact: Studies indicate that people receiving treatment for schizophrenia are no more dangerous than the rest of the population.
Myth: People with schizophrenia have split or multiple personalities.
Fact: Schizophrenia is not a split personality disorder in any way.
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) states that schizophrenia can cause extreme paranoia, along with mental changes like hearing voices others cannot, feeling very agitated or talking without making sense.2 Schizophrenia affects men and women equally, and although it’s normally diagnosed in adults over the age of 45, it is also seen in children. There is no cure for the condition, but antipsychotic drugs are used to manage the symptoms of schizophrenia, and many PatientsLikeMe community members are donating data on their treatments. Check out the NIMH’s fact page on schizophrenia to learn more.
Over the next week, many organizations across the U.S. will be raising awareness for schizophrenia through different events. Here are a couple examples:
- The Schizophrenia and Related Disorders Alliance of America (SARDAA) is hosting a “Reealities” film festival in Houston to help acknowledge stigmas about schizophrenia.
- Northeast Ohio Medical University is holding a different event for every day of Schizophrenia Awareness Week.
If you’ve been diagnosed, you’re not alone – hundreds of PatientsLikeMe members are living with schizophrenia, and they’re sharing their stories in the forum. Take a moment to connect with others who are experiencing schizophrenia in the same ways as you.
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