There are many misconceptions about schizoaffective disorder, schizophrenia and bipolar. This is due to the lack of education surrounding mental health. Many of these misconceptions can increase the level of stigma which people suffering from these illnesses are exposed to. Therefore it is important to address these misconceptions.
Schizophrenia is dissociative identity disorder (previously known as multiple personality disorder).
Dissociate identity disorder (DID) is characterized by at least two separate and distinct personalities or split identities in a person. People suffering from DID may experience psychotic symptoms, but it is in no way related to schizophrenia. The majority of people suffering from DID refer to their other identities or personalities as their alters; each has their own age, sex, race, gender as well as their own postures, gestures, and distinct way of talking.
People with schizophrenia are violent.
This is one of the most common misconceptions, which I believe to be the result of the stigma that is produced by the media in the way which people with schizophrenia are portrayed. People with schizophrenia are no more or less prone to violence than those without the disorder. However, delusions and hallucinations can cause a person to become extremely frightened and distressed, resulting in abstract behaviour; not necessarily violent behaviour.
Schizophrenia is untreatable.
Although there is no cure for schizophrenia, it can be managed effectively through the use of medication and a wide range of therapy.
People with schizophrenia can’t live productive and fulfilling lives.
As stated above, schizophrenia can be managed effectively, and those suffering from the illness can continue to lead productive and fulfilling lives. Although it can make leading a ‘normal’ life quite challenging, it is still possible for those suffering from the illness to attend school or work, have a family and a social life.
The effects of antipsychotic medication is worse than the illness itself.
Antipsychotic medication can cause negative side effects, however, they are very good at treating psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia. Modern antipsychotics aim to minimise the negative side effects of the medication whilst still being effective to treat the disorder. Certain medications won’t work for certain people, it is often the case of trying to find the right one for the said person.
Bipolar disorder is just another name for mood swings.
The mood swings associated with bipolar are tremendously different to those experienced in people without the disorder.
During a manic episode, the person suffering from bipolar is very happy and euphoric.
Happiness and euphoria can be experienced during a manic episode, however, anger, agitation and irritability can also be experienced during a manic episode.
People with bipolar change rapidly between mania and depression.
Although this can be the case for some, which is known as ‘rapid cycling’, people with bipolar can experience both long lasting depression and mania.
Schizoaffective disorder is the same as schizophrenia.
Schizoaffective disorder and schizophrenia are two separate illnesses. Schizoaffective disorder is characterized by having both symptoms of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia present together.