10 Things You Should Know About Schizophrenia

10 Things You Should Know About Schizophrenia

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- Hey everyone, so today I'm gonna be going over the top 10 things that you need to know about schizophrenia. But first, I just want to take a minute to introduce myself again. My name is Lauren and I've been making videos on schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder, and if you want to see more videos created by me, make sure to hit subscribe, and make sure to turn on the notifications by selecting the the little bell to be notified whenever I post a new video. So diving right into our list, the first thing that I want you to know about schizophrenia is that it's not multiple personality disorder. This is a common belief that schizophrenia involves multiple personalities that a person holds and maintains, which has also clinically referred to as dissociative identity disorder. It's really important to keep in mind that these are completely different illnesses and they have nothing really to do with each other. Schizophrenia is not multiple personalities, but rather it's a break from reality instead of a break from your own personality. So number two on our list is that schizophrenia involves what's called psychosis, and psychosis is basically a break from reality, which is commonly characterized by hallucinations and delusions, where a person is experiencing something
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or believing something that isn't really there, or isn't actually true. It's really important to keep in mind and to really understand that a person who is experiencing psychosis and these hallucinations and delusions, what they're experiencing is very, very real to them. So if you're a someone supporting someone or interacting with someone in the midst of psychosis, it's important to keep in mind to not negate what they're experiencing, but rather to validate it and validate what they're feeling in response to what they're experiencing, and to kind of figure out how to move forward with them in a constructive way with that still being their reality. On that same vein, it's important to not feed into their delusions or hallucinations by encouraging it, but rather to just acknowledge it as what they're experiencing and validating rather the emotions that they're feeling rather than the actual hallucination or delusion. Number three, there is more to schizophrenia than just hallucinations and delusions. So, what I was talking about in terms of hallucinations and delusions that come with psychosis are common with schizophrenia, but it's also important to note that there are two branches
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of symptoms that are commonly experienced with people who have schizophrenia. These are positive symptoms and negative symptoms. Positive symptoms are the symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions, whereas negative symptoms are the more, less visible symptoms, such as decreased motivation, decreased energy, loss of interest in things, blunted affect. This cluster of symptoms is commonly forgotten about when talking about schizophrenia because positive symptoms are the addition of a behavior added because of the illness and negative symptoms are basically the removal of a behavior because of the illness, so it's kind of harder to notice or to identify these symptoms. Number four, violence is not a symptom of schizophrenia. It's a really commonly held belief or misconception around schizophrenia, that it involves violence as a symptom, and this is just not the case. In fact, people who are living with schizophrenia are more likely to be the victims of violence than the perpetrators. The rate of violent acts or violent crimes
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by people living with schizophrenia is 1%, which is the exact same as the general population. A lot of what we hear in the news or in popular culture or popular media are the negative depictions of mental illness and especially of schizophrenia that involve instances of violence committed by people who are living with schizophrenia. This is not really fair to the vast majority of people who are living with schizophrenia, because it's kind of making the assumption that these, the small percentage of people who are committing violent acts or violent crimes and living with schizophrenia represent the larger population of people who do not commit violent acts or violent crimes and they're living with schizophrenia. This is a really important misconception to be aware of in order to keep reducing stigma around schizophrenia. Number five, schizophrenia does not discriminate in who it affects. So it affects everyone equally, regardless of gender, socioeconomic background, sexual orientation, ethnicity. Regardless of any of these factors or identity markers, it affects everyone equally. And one in 100 people will be affected by schizophrenia
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in their lifetime. Number six, the exact cause of schizophrenia is still unknown, however, we do have information about precipitating factors, meaning factors that can trigger the onset of schizophrenia if you have a genetic predisposition to have it. So a commonly used study to indicate whether a disease is hereditary or not are twin studies, where they study the incidence of a disease in both the twins to see what is due to hereditary biological factors and what is due to environmental factors. And a recent study that was conducted on the hereditary factor in terms of schizophrenia found that schizophrenia is about 80% hereditary. Now this doesn't necessarily mean that because your parent has schizophrenia, that you are going to inherit it. Again, like I said, there are precipitating factors that are at play as well, that determine whether or not an illness will come to light in your lifetime or not. Some of these precipitating factors can be anything from a stressful incident to drug use or anything like that.
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Number seven, schizophrenia affects everyone differently. So this is just to say that every individual who has schizophrenia will experience a variety of different symptoms that kind of fall under the same umbrella, but they look different from person to person. So people can have different kinds of hallucinations and delusions. So the hallucinations can be anything from olfactory, so smell audio, visual, tactile, or taste, any of the senses can involve hallucinations and they can be different for each individual. There are also different kinds of delusions that can be exhibited in each individual, and it varies from person to person what exactly their delusions or hallucinations may include. There's also a little bit of a spectrum involved with the illness in terms of severity or intensity of symptoms. So along the spectrum, there are people who are well presenting, which is kind of commonly referred to as higher functioning, however, I don't really like this term because it is kind of exclusionary to other people and it is a little stigmatizing,
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so I use the term well presenting. So there are people who are more well presenting, and there are people who have more obvious symptoms and are more obviously symptomatic in their schizophrenia illness. But it's really important to keep in mind that even if an individual seems well presenting, that's not really always indicative of what symptoms they're actually internally struggling with, and they may be hiding their struggle with their symptoms really well, and they may be just kind of putting on a bit of a facade in terms of what level they're actually functioning at. So something that I just wanna point out about this is that no matter where you find yourself on the spectrum in terms of functioning or how your symptoms are presenting, it's okay. It doesn't matter if you are well presenting or if you have more obvious symptoms, everyone experiences the illness differently and it's okay wherever you find yourself. Okay, so now number eight is something that I think is a little bit obvious, but there are questions that come up quite regularly around this. And so number eight is that schizophrenia is not contagious.
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So you cannot contract schizophrenia by being around someone or by touching someone, it is not a communicable disease. It is a mental illness that affects just the individual and it is not transferable to anyone else. I think that this is kind of a misconception that comes about because of stigma and just miseducate, or uneducation I guess, around the illness. People don't really understand it, and so they become afraid of it, and they are afraid of what might be passed to them if they're in contact with someone with schizophrenia, but this is not the case, it is not contagious. And you should absolutely treat someone with schizophrenia just the same as you would treat anyone else. Number nine is that schizophrenia is treatable. So in years past, it was kind of understood that if you could receive the diagnosis of schizophrenia, it was almost like a life sentence. In terms of quality of life you would endure, just because there wasn't really effective treatments available. And what often happened was that people were shuttled off
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to psychiatric institutions, where they were just kept for the rest of their life. This is not really the case anymore, and there are much better perspectives and outlooks for people who are living with schizophrenia nowadays. It can be treated with medication, therapy, and various other social supports. So the primary treatment available for schizophrenia is medication, anti-psychotic medication. However, it's also really important to have other factors in terms of your recovery, such as therapy, other social supports, and just leading kind of a balanced, healthy lifestyle. So even while on medication and receiving treatment for schizophrenia, there can still be what's called breakthrough symptoms, where a person still experiences symptoms of the illness, even while they're on medication or receiving treatment. Usually the severity of the symptoms are reduced while on medication or receiving treatment, and in my experience, it's been more manageable while I'm on medication, even these breakthrough symptoms. And number 10, which is perhaps the most important in my eyes, is that people who are living with schizophrenia can lead meaningful and productive lives.
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So like I said, there are treatments available for schizophrenia that can help an individual to lead a meaningful and full life, even with the illness. Unfortunately, it's kind of a commonly held belief or misconception or stereotype or prejudice, I guess, of people who are living with schizophrenia, that they are less competent or that they're unable to engage in meaningful life activities, such as relationships, hobbies, or meaningful work, or various life experiences like that. And this is really unfortunate because it is within an individual who is living with schizophrenia's capacity to experience these kinds of experiences and to engage in life in a meaningful way, the way everyone else does. It's important to kind of note that it may be a little harder sometimes for somebody who's experiencing schizophrenia, and some of these may be met with different kinds of challenges than the typical person will experience. However, it is still possible for them to lead a meaningful and productive life. I think for myself, I internalized a lot of these messages that were being put upon me by society, and that was really detrimental to what I was able
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to open myself up to and to experience as an individual. So if you are living with schizophrenia, coming around to this kind of self acceptance around this issue and acknowledging that you are totally capable of leading a meaningful and productive life is really important. So that wraps up my list of the top 10 things I feel that you should know about schizophrenia. This list is by no means exhaustive, and there is so much more to know and to understand about schizophrenia, but these are just the kind of things that I feel that everyone in society should know about schizophrenia. If you enjoyed this video, or if you found it helpful at all, please give me a thumbs up or leave a comment below, and make sure to subscribe for future videos. Thanks so much again for watching. I'm wishing you and your loved ones good health. Bye. (relaxing guitar music)

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