Schizophrenia often involves a variety of symptoms, but not one involves multiple personalities.
Among the general populace, schizophrenia is a widely misunderstood mental health condition. A predominant misconception is that schizophrenia is synonymous with having multiple personalities. The myth likely originated from the word “schizo” meaning “split.” However, in the case of schizophrenia, the “split” concept refers to gaps in a person’s ability to think and express emotions. Those who actually live with split personalities are diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder.
The idea of “split personalities” causes people to be afraid of people with schizophrenia. The fear may be that they can suddenly transform into criminals that perpetuate horrible crimes. Sensationalist media coverage of large-scale crimes such as school shootings often profiles perpetrators as mentally ill, brandishing the term “schizophrenia” as synonymous with criminality. Rarely do news outlets ever explain what schizophrenia is, which further causes misconceptions about the condition.
The truth is that people with schizophrenia are more likely to be the victims of crimes instead of perpetrating them. They suffer in other ways also. Many live in poverty, are unable to find work and also suffer from side effects of medications. At times, they are at greater risk for developing conditions such as diabetes, severe weight gain or tardive dyskinesia.
Schizophrenia is believed to be a condition that has no positive outcome after treatment. On the contrary, some with schizophrenia are successfully treated with medications and various therapeutic modalities. For those who experience symptoms, it is important to get professional help so as to manage them well.