This statement was made in a video in my previous article about Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). That statement seemed to have a major impact on readers. Tweets, pins, blog posts, and emails flooded in with people stating how happy they were to hear this and feel that there is a ray of light at the end of the tunnel. It became apparent to me (a therapist who does not work with BPD) how common BPD is and the confusion over how it expresses itself and how it affects the sufferer and those around the sufferer.
I’m sure you won’t be surprised to know that Schizophrenia is quite different. It is often a diagnosis with a poor prognosis in most cases due to the severity of symptoms. Sadly, a lot of families automatically believe that a diagnosis of schizophrenia will “end their lives.” In some cases, people do recover with appropriate treatment. Without proper care, the diagnosis can worsen. I don’t know anyone with schizophrenia close enough to observe their daily functionality, but many don’t see hope for themselves. In fact, much of society doesn’t see hope either because of outdated treatments and the severity of symptoms.
As you probably already know, schizophrenia can be difficult for society to understand which leads to generalizations and stigma. A patient from the clip below stated that:
“I don’t see myself as having a split personality or being a violent person…”
While violence doesn’t directly characterize all individuals with this diagnosis, it does exist. Unfortunately, schizophrenia is a very stigmatized illness due to its complex symptoms, history of poor prognosis, and cases involving violence. The sad reality is that people are so afraid of stigma that they disregard that the illness can be severe and often result in:
- victimization (due to delusions or reduced level of good judgment), and
Behaviors often characteristic of individuals who end up incarcerated, engaging in violence, homeless, or victimized include:
- Disruptive public behavior
- Hallucinations that lead to violence or disruptive behavior
- Delusions that lead to violence or disruptive behavior
- Poor judgment or clouded thinking
- Impulsivity or emotional reactivity
- Low frustration tolerance
- Being a public nuisance
- Disorganized thinking
People who engage in violence, are victimized, are homeless, or end up incarcerated are NOT criminals. They need:
- compassion, and
- proper treatment
Criminalizing schizophrenia is something that has negatively impacted families everywhere. As you will see in this video, individuals diagnosed with this disorder have a lot to deal with, including the symptoms themselves:
What do you think of Schizophrenia? Is there hope?
As always, feel free to post your thoughts. Conversation often leads to greater understanding.
Brichford, C. (2013). Schizophrenia and Legal Issues. EverydayHealth. Retrieved August 28, 2013, from http://www.everydayhealth.com/schizophrenia/schizophrenia-and-legal-issues.aspx.
EverydayHealth. (2008). Violence and Psychosis: The Worst of the Schizophrenia Subtypes. Retrieved August 28, 2013, from http://www.everydayhealth.com/schizophrenia/webcasts/violence-and-psychosis-the-worst-of-the-schizophrenia-stereotypes.aspx.