Stigma regarding mental health disorders has been growing for a long time. This is clearly detrimental, even in the Harvard Psychiatry Review also mentions that historically, people who deal with mental conditions are often treated unfairly, they are often considered dangerous, unstable, and cruel people.
In many countries, access to adequate mental health services is still a struggle for many. Though mental health disorders will clearly greatly limit daily functions. One of them is schizophrenia. So, is it true that the bad stigma about schizophrenia can worsen the condition? Let’s see the following review!
Schizophrenia and the negative stigma about it
Did you know that there are about 26 million people worldwide living with schizophrenia? According to the US National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), schizophrenia is a severe brain disorder that can make people unable to function or live their lives as they should.
People diagnosed with schizophrenia can often experience delusions and hallucinations, which causes them to see or hear things that aren’t there and believe things that aren’t true. The disorder also interferes with a person’s emotions, memory, and ability to socialize and relate to others.
Unfortunately, the cause of schizophrenia is not clear. Therefore, current treatment focuses solely on relieving the symptoms of the disorder. Antipsychotic drugs, such as clozapine and haloperidol are usually the first choice when treating people with schizophrenia.
People with schizophrenia also need to get psychosocial treatment, such as cognitive behavioral therapy to help improve behavior and thinking and rehabilitation to improve social interactions.
This treatment is usually given to patients who have been stabilized with antipsychotic drugs. This kind of treatment can be effective for most people with schizophrenia, allowing them to function more normally in daily life.
However, it seems that society as a whole has other ideas about what a person diagnosed with schizophrenia looks like. Even because of this growing negative stigma, the sufferer does not get the mental health care that he should receive.
The US National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) claims that 64 percent of people believe that multiple personalities or frequent switching between normal and odd behavior are symptoms of schizophrenia.
This then encourages the perception that people with schizophrenia are unpredictable, which causes people’s fear of them. As a result, the sufferer is left to live the rest of his life not receiving appropriate mental health care. In fact, there are many cases of shackled people with mental disorders in the world.
The Danger of Schizophrenia Negative Stigma
Perhaps not surprisingly, society’s negative perception of people with schizophrenia has stopped individuals with the disorder from getting the help they need, both in terms of medication and social support.
NAMI itself also reports that only 46 percent of people said they would tell a friend if they had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, while 27 percent said they would be embarrassed to tell others if one of their own family members had been diagnosed with the disorder.
A person who hears negative and demeaning comments about a person with a severe mental illness will not admit to experiencing any symptoms and then will not seek help even when they are in the early stages and realize that their mind may not be healthy.
These symptoms not only lead to isolation, but sufferers will leave their friends and family, as well as family and friends will also leave them. They will leave schizophrenic patients without the support they really need.
So, if one day you see one of your closest people experiencing symptoms of a mental health disorder, you should immediately discuss it with a psychologist or psychiatrist to be sure. Ask for advice on what steps to take to prevent the condition from getting worse. Grab your smartphone now and use it to talk to a doctor or psychologist, anytime and anywhere.