A patient with schizophrenia in the family is always a lot of obstacles and difficulties that the family faces. Family and schizophrenia become inseparable. For someone with schizophrenia, the family becomes a burden and is left to himself. Someone rents their relatives to specialized institutions. And someone continues to fight, try and in every possible way help relatives with schizophrenia. Many incomprehensible and frightening symptoms repel ordinary people from patients with schizophrenia. Certain stereotypes have developed in society about the incurability and danger of such patients. Is it really?
Schizophrenia as a diagnosis
The history of the development and formation of psychiatry as a science has gone through many stages. From the history of psychiatry, we know that mental illness was associated with myths, explained from the point of view of religion. In the history of psychiatry, the facts of isolation and destruction of mentally ill people who were recognized as extremely dangerous, and could, for example, be easily burned at the stake, or locked up in prison for the rest of their lives, are repeatedly cited. Or remember the punitive psychiatry in Russia (USSR). Psychiatry in Soviet times was a powerful weapon in the fight against dissidents and other people politically objectionable to the system. A person who went through “punitive psychiatry” as a rule did not change his political views, but the “stigma” remained on him. Around all this, many myths were born, many of them are still alive. The stereotypes formed over the centuries about psychiatrists and the mentally ill people themselves create some problems at the present time for the full-fledged assistance to mentally ill people.
It is necessary to create forums, communities and special schools aimed at improving public awareness of mental illness, helping mentally ill people. Explain to people that schizophrenia is not a fatal disease, and just like all others, it can be treated.
Myth #1 Schizophrenia is the most severe mental disorder.
The disease is really mysterious, and not fully understood, accompanied by many productive symptoms (delusions, hallucinations), but this does not give the right to call schizophrenia the most severe mental illness.
Since the mid-1950s, psychopharmacotherapy has been actively used in the treatment of mental illness. Thanks to the introduction of drugs, many institutions have almost completely abandoned the physical methods of restraining patients. At many clinics there are labor workshops for the rehabilitation of patients and the possibility of acquiring new skills, due to the loss of previous ones as a result of the disease.
Timely provided qualified assistance makes it possible for a long-term remission. A person returns to his usual life, he can do his former business, work and family. A small proportion of patients will experience mild disorders, but they will not lead to invalidization of a person and a deterioration in his quality of life. According to some authors, 20-25% of patients had a complete recovery after the first attack of the disease ( Tsuang MT, Winokur G., Chiompi L., Muller C., Bleuler M, Huber G., Westermeyer JF, Harrow M.)
Myth #2 The main symptom of schizophrenia is the syndrome of split personality.
A split personality does not mean that there are several different personalities inside a person. A split personality in schizophrenia means that there is a splitting of the single processes of the psyche. For example, the splitting of emotions: the manifestation of positive and kind feelings for a person or animal is subsequently replaced by unmotivated anger and aggression. A person can be very upset at an insignificant event, but experience emotional coldness at the death of a loved one.
Myth #3 The end of the illness is schizophrenic dementia
Yes, in fact, in some clinical variants of the course, schizophrenic dementia develops. However, with properly selected and applied therapy throughout life, excellent results can be observed. Among the patients you can meet well-known figures of culture, science and ordinary people who have lived a full quality life, while continuing to work.
Myth #4 Schizophrenia is dangerous for others
Is schizophrenia really dangerous for others?
Schizophrenia is a mental illness that is not contagious and is not transmitted by any of the possible ways of transmitting diseases. Even the hereditary form of transmission of schizophrenia has not yet been proven. Cases of attacks by patients with schizophrenia on people are quite rare, in contrast to cases of attacks on mentally ill people by healthy people.
Myth #5 Schizophrenia is incurable
According to some statistics, approximately 25% of survivors of a psychotic attack do not develop relapses or develop after many decades, to which many patients simply do not live. Only a small percentage of people with schizophrenia progress after the first episode. However, with timely detection of the disease and its treatment, it is possible to quickly remove an acute psychotic attack and increase the time of remission.
Myth #6 People with schizophrenia take pills and stay in psychiatric hospitals all their lives.
In psychiatric hospitals, acute conditions of patients are removed. Further, patients are under the patronage of relatives and rehabilitation takes place either at home or in specialized rehabilitation centers for patients.
Yes, with schizophrenia you need to take pills, this is necessary. The dosage is selected together with the doctor, to obtain the maximum effect from the drug, and at the same time, the absence of side effects. All further changes in therapy are strictly agreed with the attending physician. Psychotherapy is an integral part of the treatment of patients with schizophrenia.
Myths about schizophrenia greatly complicate the lives of patients. Their families and themselves are suffering. There is a phenomenon of self-stigmatization , when a person, having learned that he is ill with schizophrenia, “puts an end to himself” and may try to commit suicide. The destruction of such destructive myths will contribute to the acceptance by society and the family of those people who, in general, are ordinary, but, unlike healthy ones, experience additional suffering.