Schizophrenia Myths

It Causes Multiple Personalities

Experts aren’t sure why, but many people confuse schizophrenia with dissociative personality disorder, which is when someone has two or more identities or personalities. Schizophrenia may cause hallucinations or delusions, but it does not create multiple personalities.

It Makes You Violent or Dangerous

Movies and other media may make it seem like having schizophrenia makes you unstable and likely to harm others, but having the disorder doesn’t make you more prone to violence. In fact, some studies show it can raise your risk of being a victim of a violent crime.

Bad Parenting Causes It

Experts don’t know exactly what causes schizophrenia. It has multiple risk factors, including genetics, having an infection in your brain, complications during your mother’s pregnancy with you, drug use, and extreme stress for long periods of time.

You’ll Have It if Your Parent Does

Just because schizophrenia can run in families doesn’t mean it will. More than one gene contributes to your risk of getting it, so it’s not an automatic diagnosis for you if one of your parents has it.

You’re Not Smart if You Have It

One small study found that people with schizophrenia have a lower IQ after their disorder starts. Other studies show that some people with schizophrenia have very high IQs. It’s not a given that having the disorder makes you smarter or less smart than others without it.

It Means Living in a Facility

In the past, when schizophrenia wasn’t as well-understood, people with the condition were often sent away so they wouldn’t be a “danger” to society. But advances in medications and a better understanding of mental illness now mean you can find the treatment and therapy you need while living and working in the community.

You Can’t Hold a Job

People with schizophrenia can be productive and valuable employees in the workplace. Research shows it’s stigma about the disorder – not symptoms – that makes it harder to get a job in the first place.

It Starts With a Psychotic Break

Often an episode of psychosis will lead to a diagnosis, but research shows that often, people have gradual changes in thinking, mood, and social functioning before that happens.

You Don’t Recover From It

While it’s true schizophrenia doesn’t yet have a cure, you can treat it and live a productive, typical life with the disorder. Studies show nearly two-thirds of people improve their symptoms greatly and even have remission from symptoms if they start proper treatment soon after their first episode.

A Blood Test Diagnoses It

There’s no one thing that tells your doctor you have the disorder. Diagnosing schizophrenia requires a combination of tests and questions about symptoms and behavior over time.



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