Myths vs. THE Facts

There are many myths and misunderstandings surrounding mental health disorders. Most often, people are just uninformed or uneducated on the facts.

Whether you are someone who is concerned about what symptoms mean or you are a parent, family member or professional seeking answers, consider what possible ‘myths’ or ‘stereotypes’ you may be holding onto that are standing in the way of seeking help.

Below are some of the most common myths about early psychosis followed by THE Facts.

The good news is, there is hope and help for men and women who are experiencing or may be at a higher risk for experiencing early psychosis.

Myth: If you have a mental illness, you can will it away. Being treated for a psychiatric disorder means an individual has in some way “failed” or is weak.
Fact: A serious mental illness cannot be willed away. Ignoring the problem does not make it go away. It takes courage to seek professional help.

Myth: Psychosis is a “cliff”; once you fall over it, there’s no coming back.
Fact: Psychosis is NOT a “cliff.” The antiquated notion that “once you fall over it, there’s no coming back,” is an erroneous belief.
Diagnosed in the early stages, psychosis is a manageable illness that can be treated to remission or even recovery.

Myth: Children don’t experience mental health problems.
Fact: Even very young children may show early warning signs of mental health concerns. Half of all mental health disorders show first signs before a person turns 14 years old, and three quarters of mental health disorders begin before age 24.Unfortunately, less than 20% of children and adolescents with diagnosable mental health issues receive the treatment they need. Early mental health support can help a child before problems interfere with other developmental needs.

Myth: You can’t do anything for a loved one with psychosis.
Fact: You can do a lot, beginning with how you speak and act. Don’t change the subject when a mental illness diagnosis comes up – ask questions, listen to ideas, and be responsive. Ask what you can do to help. Treat people with mental illness just as you would those with any other serious but treatable condition-with respect, compassion and empathy.

Myth: Schizophrenia means split personality, and there is no way to control it.
Fact: Schizophrenia is often confused with multiple personality disorder because of the myth that it means a split personality and that there is no way to control it. In fact, schizophrenia is a brain disorder that robs people of their ability to think clearly and logically. The estimated 2.5 million Americans with schizophrenia have symptoms ranging from social withdrawal to hallucinations and delusions. Medication has helped many of these individuals to lead fulfilling, productive lives.

Myth: If you have a mental illness, you can will it away. Being treated for a psychiatric disorder means an individual has in some way “failed” or is weak.
Fact: A serious mental illness cannot be willed away. Ignoring the problem does not make it go away, either. It takes courage to seek professional help. Being treated for a psychiatric disorder does not mean an individual has in some way “failed” or is weak. That is an unfair myth which Felton Early Psychosis Programs is committed to disproving.

Myth: Mental illness is the result of bad parenting.
Fact: Most experts agree that a genetic susceptibility, combined with other risk factors, leads to a psychiatric disorder. In other words, mental illnesses have a physical cause and not common misconceptions like “mental illness is the result of bad parenting.”

Myth: Psychiatric disorders are not true medical illnesses like heart disease and diabetes. People who have a mental illness are just “crazy.”
Fact: Psychiatric disorders, like heart disease and diabetes, are legitimate medical illnesses. Research shows there are genetic and biological causes for psychiatric disorders, and they can be treated effectively.

Myth: People with a severe mental illness, such as schizophrenia, are usually dangerous and violent.
Fact: Statistics show that the incidence of violence in people who have a brain disorder is not much higher than it is in the general population. Those suffering from a psychosis such as schizophrenia are more often frightened, confused and despairing than violent.

Myth: Drug-use does not negatively affect or impact people with early psychosis or people who may be at risk of developing early psychosis.
Fact: Drug-use (like cannabis, hallucinogenics, opiates, ecstasy and speed) can directly contribute to the development of early psychosis in persons who are already pre-disposed to developing psychosis or schizophrenia.

Myth: Early psychosis and schizophrenia are not treatable.
Fact: Research supports that when people with schizophrenia are treated with a combination of medications and specific therapy methodologies; they can and do get better. Effective programs, like Felton Early Psychosis Programs, involve work, school, family and relationships along with a Client’s personal goals.
While there is currently no ‘cure’ for schizophrenia, there are effective treatments that work and help people with schizophrenia to lead productive, successful and independent lives.

Myth: People experiencing unusual symptoms or who feel scared about what may be occurring in their lives should just ignore it and it will go away.
Fact: Early identification and treatment is very important and can affect recovery. Serious problems at work or school, seeing, hearing or experiencing things that others do not, having firmly held false beliefs, withdrawing from social situations, speaking in a disorganized way or feeling paranoid are all signs and symptoms of schizophrenia.Many people who have schizophrenia wait months, sometimes years, needlessly, before a proper diagnosis is made and treatment begins. Sometimes this is because they are unaware of what is wrong and the individual may not know that they have an illness.
Psychosis tends to develop slowly over years , but the longer it goes untreated, the more likely it is to lead to significant disability.

Myth: As a parent or friend, I can’t do anything to help my child/friend with their possible mental health concerns.
Fact: Friends and family can be important influences to help someone get the treatment and services they need by reaching out and helping them access mental health services, learning and sharing the facts about mental health, treating them with respect, and refusing to define them with labels and misleading stereotypes.

More Facts:

Early identification and treatment is of vital importance. By ensuring access to treatment and recovery that have been proven effective, recovery may be accelerated and additional complications typically associated with untreated conditions are minimized.