schizophrenia paranoid

Schizophrenia: Myths and Realities

Courtesy of criminalatt/

With the downward spiral of TV celebrity Amanda Bynes, the world’s focus is on schizophrenia. While the condition ranks high in the public’s consciousness, our collective understanding of it is low. There are a number of falsehoods about people with schizophrenia based on the false assumption that the experience of each schizophrenic is the same.

Here are some myths and realities of schizophrenia:

• Myth: People with schizophrenia have “split personalities.”
• Reality: This is a symptom of a completely different illness.
“Split personalities” or “multiple personalities” are not a symptom of schizophrenia; in fact, these symptoms indicate a different mental illness called Dissociative Identity Disorder. The “split mind” of the schizophrenic refers to the dissociation between thought and feeling. “A person may be telling a very sad story while smiling, or may be afraid of things that are completely mundane,” says Duckworth. A person with schizophrenia may react inappropriately to situations but does not mean he or she has multiple personalities.

• Myth: People with schizophrenia are dangerous.
• Reality: Some people with schizophrenia may be dangerous, but most are not.
Some people with schizophrenia may be prone to violent outbursts. There is evidence that suggests psychoses can fuel violent behaviors, but the actual numbers don’t justify a fear of all people with schizophrenia. In fact, people with schizophrenia are in greater danger of being victimized by the general population.

• Myth: People with schizophrenia will never get better.
• Reality: Many people recover.
“Symptoms sometimes lose their intensity,” Duckworth says. Most people can find some form of relief from symptoms. Up to half of patients suffering with schizophrenia can experience significant or even complete recovery with treatment.


Sep 06, 2013
Comments Off on Schizophrenia: Myths and Realities

Helping Someone with Schizophrenia and Paranoia

Image courtesy of Ambro /

When those with schizophrenia are suffering from paranoia, you may be able to tell when they are acting paranoid. You may notice that they accuse others of trying to harm them or may being looking around fearfully. They might talk about protecting themselves from an attack. When they are in this state of paranoia, here are some ways to help them:

  • Don’t argue with them. Ask questions about their fears, and talk to them about the paranoia if they want to listen to you. If they are threatening you, call for help.
  • If needed, use simple directions. Tell them that no harm will come to them and that you can help.
  • Give them enough personal space so that they won’t feel trapped or surrounded. Stay with them, but at a distance that is comfortable for you and them. Try to stay more than an arm’s reach away.
  • Call for help if you think anyone is in danger.
  • Move them away from the cause of their fear or from noise and activity, if possible. Ask them to tell you what is causing their fear and make a direct statement to them that you are not afraid.
  • Focus them on what is real.
  • Be sure to tell them everything you are going to do before you do it so that you don’t increase their fears and paranoia. For example, say “I’m going to take out my cell phone” before you do so.

In order to help them with situations that may cause their paranoia, try these tips:

  • Help them avoid the things that they fear.
  • Keep lights turned on if the person tells you that this makes them feel less scared.
  • Talk about their fears when they are not paranoid, and make a plan for handling the fears when they do occur.
  • Help them make a list of their fears.



Image courtesy of Ambro /

Jun 16, 2013
Comments Off on Helping Someone with Schizophrenia and Paranoia