Common misconceptions surrounding mental illness involve beliefs of violence towards oneself or others, unintelligibility, and criminal behavior. These beliefs perpetuate stigma and further denote the mental illness for what it really is – a mental illness and not the whole person. The Psychiatric Times notes that the aggressiveness and impulsivity shown by characters with schizophrenia in movies and televisions shows increases stigmatization and poorer treatment outcomes. According to the Scientific American, approximately 60 to 80 percent of the population believes that individuals with schizophrenia are likely to commit violent acts.
Psychiatrist E. Fuller Torrey states that most people with schizophrenia are not violent and do not exhibit dangerous behaviors. Dr. Irene Levine, psychologist and co-author of Schizophrenia for Dummies notes that, “People with schizophrenia more often tend to be victims rather than perpetrators of violence although untreated mental illness and substance abuse often increase the risk of aggressive behavior.” Hallucinations and delusions involving suspiciousness may cause someone to become aggressive, but proper treatment and medication can prevent this. Individuals without treatment will have less knowledge on their disorder, which will cause them to have less control over their behavior.
Southeastern Arizona Behavioral Health Services (SEABHS) claims that there is a small link between schizophrenia and violence, and in fact there is more of a link between violence and substance abuse problems. There is much more of a risk that a person will harm you if they have a drug or alcohol addiction than if a person has schizophrenia. What’s most important for someone with schizophrenia is to be diagnosed and treated so that they can better understand their condition and how to manage their symptoms, which typically involves medication.
The Scientific American claims that “, severely mentally ill people account for only 3 to 5 percent of violent crimes in the general population”. The stigma behind schizophrenia and violence needs to cease because each person is different and mental illness should not be blamed or stereotyped. Understanding the reality and facts behind mental illness can help break the stigma.
If you have schizophrenia and are ready to seek treatment for your symptoms, call us today at 888-958-7511. Avalon Malibu is a California state-licensed mental health and addiction recovery treatment center. We offer a home-like center for you to feel comfortable and focus solely on your recovery. We believe in holistic recovery, meaning that we will work with you to restore your mind, body, and spirit. Call us today for a consultation.