Myth; schizophrenia patients are dangerous and violent.
- Research has established an interesting fact that the violence rate in the general population is 4 percent while in schizophrenia it is 6 to 7 percent. That means not all patients are violent. They do show aggression but are slightly higher than the general population.
- Another important fact is that these patients are more likely to be a victim of violence rather than culprits of violence. They are bullied, and abused physically, sexually, and emotionally.
- Whatever the aggression, it usually occurs during the acute phase of schizophrenia. That is treatable with medicine
- Family confrontation and arguments during the acute phase also provoke aggression
Myth; Schizophrenia patients are not treatable. Medicine response is temporary.
- Schizophrenia is a treatable condition. Although in some patients response is slower but it is treatable.
- Medicine has to be taken for a longer period even after the remission of symptoms.
- People usually stop the medicine when remission has been achieved. this results in a relapse of symptoms.
- With poor adherence to medicine, the illness relapses again and again. As a result, the required duration of medicine also increases.
Myth; Schizophrenia patients can’t work and live independently.
They can do their job, and business and can live independently
Myth; symptoms will improve after marriage.
Although these patients can marry and can have kids. In our society marriage is devised as a solution to schizophrenia symptoms. Without treatment, marriage can further complicate the prognosis. Marriage comes with more responsibilities. On the other hand, the patient is not able to take care of himself during the active phase.
Myth; schizophrenia patients’ IQ is low.
Although cognitive decline is part of schizophrenia illness, this is not enough that we label them learning to be disabled. In some cases, they are more intelligent and creative than the general population. John Nash, a Nobel Laureate in Economics, was diagnosed to be suffering from schizophrenia
Myth; schizophrenia medicines are only addictive and sleeping pills. They do nothing other than sleep.
Although there is sedation in these medicines, these are not just sleeping pills. They correct the level of a certain chemical that is disturbed in these patients. They slow down certain brain areas that are hyperactive. For example, some drugs reduce the dopamine level in some parts of the brain which was high and responsible for symptoms
Myth; schizophrenia medicine has a lot of side effects.
Like any other medicine, schizophrenia medicines are not free from side effects. But not all side effects appear in all patients. If they do appear they are reversible and can be corrected with adjustment of medicine.
Myth; schizophrenia medicine is to be taken lifelong.
They are to be taken for a longer period but not lifelong. For example, in the first episode, they are taken for two years after the remission of symptoms
Myth; schizophrenia symptoms are “possession by evil spirits”.
This is a highly held myth in our society. We will not debate here regarding the existence of evil spirits but we will discuss the fact. We found that patients who come to us (whose families believed that these are caused by evil spirits or possession) usually had some psychiatric illness and was treated with medicine.