Schizophrenia myths cause trouble for the person with the mental illness as well as the community at large. There is about one percent of the population that have schizophrenia. This mental illness is well known across the county. At the same time, research suggests that laypeople know little to nothing about schizophrenia or any other mental illness. As a result, there are many myths floating around out there concerning this extremely complex mental illness. Due to these myths, there are countless people who are unable to get treatment due to the stigma.
Myth 1: Schizophrenia means you have a split personality
This can be attributed to the fictional characters, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde who are seen in literature. Through the years these schizophrenia myths, ordinary people have perpetuated the belief that a person with schizophrenia has multiple personality disorder much like the Jekyll/Hyde persona. This notion is completely wrong on all accounts. This myth sets up one to believe that a schizophrenic person is dangerous and unpredictable. If anyone were to walk in a schizophrenic’s shoes and believes they are being abused and terrified from the voices, that “normal” person will respond in the same way.
Myth 2: All schizophrenics are violent and dangerous
I would like for you to meet my friend Dan. He is schizophrenic and I met him in group therapy. Dan totally shatters these schizophrenia myths. He is polite, nice, calm, funny, smart and caring. In your mind, you probably do not believe those characteristics could describe someone who has schizophrenia. Moreover, this is a fairly common myth based on the absolutely wrong theory that all people with a mental illness are dangerous and can go off at any second. Even I get extremely angry when I am in a rage. I want to destroy anything in my path. But, my faith and my current medicine I am on seems to be stabilizing me. This does not make me a violent person.
Myth 3: People with serious mental illness are completely disabled
Speaking from experience, my bipolar 1 with psychotic features, mixed episodes and ultra-rapid cycling is very serious. Meaning it ranks up there with schizophrenia. All my life I have had trouble holding down more than 20 jobs. I have never applied for disability. Currently, I am working a freelance job that allows me to be my own boss. It is refreshing to be able to set my own schedule and my own deadlines. Or take a break and go for a walk. This is working because I analyzed my disability, my work history and my personality and figured out what I can and cannot do. Many people do this too in order to reverse these schizophrenic myths.
Myth 4: Schizophrenia makes people lazy
Many mental illnesses do make it more difficult for them to care of their daily needs. This just means you need help dressing and bathing. Based on my own personal experience, family (close family) may not be as sensitive to your needs as you would like. Instead they focus only on themselves.
Drs. Steven Jones and Peter Hayward, Coping with Schizophrenia, 2004