Schizophrenia – Misunderstood?

The media and Hollywood often paint a distorted view of people who are diagnosed with schizophrenia, in fact, it is a common mental illness that affects 1 in 100 people in their lifetime, yet the condition is still widely misunderstood. Common misconceptions include that people who suffer with schizophrenia are out of control. These incorrect views can often lead to discrimination and stigma for many individuals.

This misinformation in the media about schizophrenia is often over sensationalised and extremely misleading. We can all play our part to reduce this, by learning about schizophrenia and helping to dispel these myths, doing this can help to reduce the stigma and discrimination faced by many individuals.

The truth around schizophrenia:

• It does not mean that someone diagnosed with schizophrenia is dangerous or violent. Most people with schizophrenia do not commit violent crimes. Some research suggests that the risk may be slightly higher among people who have this diagnosis than people who don't. But it's not clear that schizophrenia is the cause.

• Evidence shows that factors like drug and alcohol misuse are far more likely to play a part in violence.

• People with schizophrenia are more likely to be victims of crime – or to harm themselves – than to harm someone else.

• It does not mean someone has a 'split personality'. These experiences are more associated with dissociative identity disorder.

Some possible triggers or causes for schizophrenia:

Many experiences and behaviours can be part of schizophrenia. They can start suddenly, or they might develop gradually over time. The majority of people diagnosed with schizophrenia are aged between 18 and 35. It seems to affect roughly the same number of men and women. Some common causes are listed below:

• Genetics. One of the most significant risk factors for schizophrenia may be in a person’s genes
• Structural or Chemical changes in the brain
• Pregnancy or birth complications
• Childhood trauma
• Previous drug use

Symptoms of schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a complicated mental health problem related to psychosis. Psychosis is when a person may perceive or interpret reality in a very different way from other people.  Each person's experience is unique and varies from person to person. You may have schizophrenia if you experience some of the following:

• Hallucinations, such as hearing voices or seeing things others don't
• Delusions (strong beliefs that others don't share), including paranoid delusions
• People aren't able to carry on with day-to-day activities, like going to work or taking care of yourself
• Becoming upset, confused or suspicious of other people or particular groups (like strangers, or people in authority)
• To disagree with people who think something is wrong
• Feeling worried or afraid of seeking help
• A lack of interest in things
• Feeling disconnected from your emotions
• Difficulty concentrating
• Wanting to avoid people

Diagnosis & Support

Diagnosing schizophrenia is complicated condition - there's no straightforward easy way to test for it. If you are experiencing symptoms, it's a good idea to start by talking to your doctor. They may refer you to a mental health specialist, who can assess you by asking you questions. If you do get diagnosed with schizophrenia, you may be prescribed mediation and or referred to support groups.

For Further Support

For further mental wellbeing support including various, therapeutic activities and emotional resilience classes, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Darlington Mind also has a variety of other services which may be of interest to you and to assist with your needs, please contact us via the following options:
Email: or Tel: 01325 283169 Mobile: 07572 888084

Article Information based on information from Mind:

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