Schizophrenia is a disorder that can frighten most people. In fact, it can be scary not only for the person inflicted with the illness but also for family, friends, and even strangers nearby. For instance, if you see someone on the street talking to themselves and who appears to be homeless, there’s a chance he or she has a mental illness. And there’s a chance that illness is some form of a psychotic disorder. Fear and judgment are common reactions to those who show signs of mental illness. It’s common for people to judge what they don’t understand. Our society has a hard time with areas of life it doesn’t understand, and the health of the mind is one of them.
For this reason, the purpose of the two articles in this series is to bust through common myths regarding schizophrenia, its symptoms, and treatment. It’s also important to mention that it’s rare for teens to experience schizophrenia. However, if they are prone to this illness or another psychotic disorder, late adolescence is when a teen may have a psychotic break. In fact, if and when this happens, most teens will recover from it and never experience psychosis again. Let’s take a look at the truth behind 13 teen schizophrenia myths.
Those with schizophrenia all have the same symptoms.
It’s common to assume that teens and adults who have this psychological illness will experience the same symptoms, such as talking to oneself or believing that the FBI is after them. However, this is not true. There are many forms schizophrenia, each having various symptoms. Furthermore, schizophrenia is an illness that comes with a large range of psychological problems and those with the disorder will each have some of them.
Teens and adults with schizophrenia are dangerous and should be kept under control.
When teens and adults with schizophrenia are treated with psychotherapy, psychosocial interventions and medication, they are just as safe as the general public. In fact, those with schizophrenia tend to be victims rather than perpetrators of violence. It should be noted, however, that those with untreated schizophrenia might display aggressive behavior. However, the general judgment of schizophrenic teens and adults being dangerous is not warranted.
Schizophrenia is a character flaw.
This psychological illness comes with various symptoms, some of which are low energy, low motivation, poor social skills, little facial movements, and less than lively physical movement. Although these might seem less significant than hallucinations, for instance, a loss of energy and motivation can be seen as a character flaw rather than symptoms. There are three types of symptoms that a schizophrenic teen or adult experiences: positive, negative, and cognitive. Negative symptoms are the absence of certain abilities, which might trigger judgments in others.
Decline in mental and cognitive abilities is a major symptom of teen schizophrenia.
The typical cognitive symptoms seen with this psychological illness include difficulty with concentration and memory, such as disorganized thinking, slow thinking, difficulty understanding, poor concentration, poor memory, difficulty expressing thoughts, and having a hard time integrating thoughts with feelings and behavior. For this reason, some teens or adults with schizophrenia may have a hard time remembering to take their medication. They may ramble on, have unusual speech, or have the inability to organize their thoughts. However, as mentioned above, these are not cause for judgment, but rather the symptoms that are typical with teen schizophrenia.
This article series will continue with part two, containing the remaining myths that most people tend to associate with schizophrenia.
Tartakovsky, M. (2010). Illuminating 13 Myths of Schizophrenia. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 6, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/illuminating-13-myths-of-schizophrenia/0002709
Paradigm Malibu is an adolescent mental health and drug treatment center dedicated to identifying, understanding and properly treating the core issues that impact teens and their families.