Stigma Attached to Schizophrenia

Causes of Social Stigma

  1. Superstition resulting from fear of the unknown
  2. Lack of exposure to modern scientific thinking
  3. Equating lack of social interaction skills with being socially dysfunctional
  4. Seeing the affliction to be a reflection of inferior mental abilities
  5. Not seeing aspects like lack of motivation, or of introspection, as symptoms, but as traits to be shunned, or to be dealt with by disciplining
  6. Observing the motor skills of people under treatment to be ‘peculiar’, instead of seeing it as a ‘phase’ in recovery
  7. Feeling that the relatively low proportion of individuals who get back to the social mainstream is evidence of ‘incurability’ and the need for isolation.
  8. Lack of literature that bridges the psychosocial, psychological and physiological aspects of the condition
  9. Viewing the inability of science to provide a single medication, or dosage,for everyone as evidence that its roots are mystical and not scientific

Repercussions of Social Stigma

  1. Having an unfounded need to be secretive about getting professional help
  2. Feeling inferior or inadequate simply because the afflicted are told they are ‘different’
  3. Isolating even the people who have overcome much of the challenge, due to a fear that they will ‘act’ in a unsocial manner
  4. Not coming out in the open despite having a remission of symptoms and living successfully with the condition
  5. Concluding that the genetic basis of schizophrenia is not as readily acceptable as it is for other conditions like diabetes, hypertension, etc.
  6. Sensationalizing, and damaging misrepresentation of the condition by the media, for popular and mass appeal
  7. Not being covered or subsidized by most underwriters or tax laws
  8. Fear and distrust of many care-givers due to the eclectic nature of the condition
  9. Mushrooming number of spurious cures, both in conventional therapy and in alternative therapy

What may help overcome Stigma as a Society

  1. Support from near and dear
  2. Promote new social research
  3. Include ‘unorthodox’ practices based on their efficacy
  4. Launch new support groups to overcome negative symptoms of schizophrenia
  5. Promulgate new legislation for insurance and taxes to cover the condition
  6. Have patience

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