Schizophrenia and Psychotic Disorders

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Schizophrenia and Psychotic Disorders

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Schizophrenia and psychotic disorders are mental illnesses that are often misunderstood and feared.

These disorders are rare. For instance, schizophrenia affects less than one percent of all people. Some causes of these disorders include physical health conditions or substance abuse. Differences in each person's brain can cause these disorders too.

These disorders have many symptoms that can be hard to understand.

One symptom of these disorders are hallucinations. Hallucinations make a person’s senses play tricks on them. People may see, hear, feel, smell, or taste things that aren’t there. For example, some people hear voices.

Another symptom of these disorders are delusions. People with delusions often have unusual thoughts. For example, they might believe that other people can hear their thoughts.

Also, people with schizophrenia sometimes have a hard time taking care of themselves. For example, they may forget to shower or clean-up.

For some people, these symptoms can be bad enough that they need to go to the hospital. For others, these symptoms may be easily managed through therapy and medication.

Other Psychotic Disorders

Schizoaffective disorder:

This is when someone has signs of schizophrenia and a mood disorder. Bipolar and depression are examples of mood disorders. This disorder usually requires long-term mental health treatment. And with treatment, people can and do live happy, successful lives.

Schizophreniform disorder:

This is when someone has signs of schizophrenia, but they have lasted less than six months. Some signs include hallucinations and delusions. Some people with this disorder recover and never have another episode. Other people may have the signs continue for more than six months. And when this happens, schizophrenia or other disorders may be diagnosed. 

Schizotypal personality disorder:

This is when a person has extreme worries about relationships. They may also have symptoms of schizophrenia like hallucinations or delusions. People with this disorder sometimes have unusual behaviors. For example, they may dress in an unusual way. Or laugh at things others may find sad.

Common Misconceptions

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Misconception 1: People with schizophrenia have multiple personalities.

The truth: This is not true.

This misconception comes from a misunderstanding of the meaning of schizophrenia. Schizophrenia means split-brain. And this was meant to describe the symptoms of the disorder.

Multiple personalities are a symptom of dissociative identity disorder.

Misconception 2: People with schizophrenia cannot live on their own.

The truth: This is not true. 

Many people with schizophrenia manage their symptoms with help from medical professionals. And this can lead to them living happy, successful lives.

Misconception 3: People diagnosed with schizophrenia are dangerous.

The truth: This is not true.

People diagnosed with this disorder are more likely to be victims of violent crime. This means they are less likely to cause violence and more likely to be harmed by it. Follow this link to learn about Alice who is diagnosed with schizophrenia. She wants to teach people that she is not dangerous.

Check out this page from Rethink Mental Illness to learn about more myths of schizophrenia.