Shattering schizophrenia stigmas

The mention of schizophrenia immediately conjures thoughts of violent, unstable individuals with split personalities. Sadly, these misconceptions often mean people diagnosed with the disorder may experience the following challenges,

  • They become shunned by society
  • Their chance of getting treatment is reduced
  • Relationships are negatively affected
  • Their chance of employment is reduced
Understanding the symptoms of schizophrenia

Schizophrenia may present with several symptoms, however, make sure you get a medical diagnosis before jumping to conclusions. Some of the symptoms may include,[1]

  • Distortions of thought, self-perception and reality
  • Hallucinations and delusional behaviour
  • Dullness of affection
  • Impairment of speech, motivation and social isolation.
Onset of symptoms and early treatment

Symptoms of schizophrenia usually present between the ages of 16 and 30, which is an integral part of a person's life and affects educational and professional development.[2] By treating schizophrenia early, symptoms are controlled, exposure to stigmas reduced, and the chance of living a meaningful life is enhanced.

How to improve the life of someone living with schizophrenia

It's important to understand that schizophrenia is not the end of the road. With the right course of treatment, people living with the disorder can live a long and fulfilled life, especially when they receive the appropriate support from friends and loved ones.

Here are some ways you can help a loved one to fulfil their potential,[3]

  • Encourage them to visit their healthcare provider regularly
  • Take steps to prevent them from consuming alcohol and drugs
  • Help them to stress less, which prevents triggering symptoms, such as delusional behaviour and hallucinations
  • Prevent power-struggles. The last thing a person living with schizophrenia needs is to be micro-managed, they too would like to feel independent and experience self-worth
  • Help them to have meaningful social interactions, as this encourages them to forge relationships and build interpersonal skills
  • Encourage activities and exercise routines to keep them active and alert
  • Ensure they get the correct treatment.
The right treatment makes all the difference

There are many treatment options for schizophrenia. However, through research and development, treatment options that include long-acting injectables have made it easier to manage symptoms of disorders such as schizophrenia. Monthly treatment options come with many advantages, these are amongst the most important,4

  • The proper administration from a healthcare professional prevents overdosing on pills
  • A monthly injectable removes the stigma of constantly taking pills to function properly
  • The injectable is easier to control as opposed to daily medicine routines
Just the beginning

Remember, people living with schizophrenia have their own goals and ambitions. With the right support and treatment, they can harness employment opportunities, pursue business ventures and build meaningful relationships with their family and community.

EM-90891

References

National Institute for Clinical Excellence. Psychosis and schizophrenia in adults: prevention and management. 2014. CG178.
APA Clinical Guidelines. American Psychiatric Association. Practice Guidelines for the treatment of patients with schizophrenia. 2004.
Hasan et al. World J Biol Psychiatry 2012; 13: 318─378.
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