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National Schizophrenia Awareness Day : How much we stigmatize mental health

       This year, National Schizophrenia Day falls on July 24 with the goal to shine a light on the millions of people worldwide who live with the diagnosis. Schizophrenia can often be seen as a rare and severe diagnosis, however it is estimated that 1 in 100 people will experience some degree of schizophrenia. Although it is not as common as other diagnosis, it still much more common that society perceives it to be. Even though in our society there has been a shift in how much we stigmatize mental health, schizophrenia continues to be one of the most stigmatized and misunderstood diagnosis.

Schizophrenia is a complicated medical condition that affects the normal function of the brain which effects the way the person thinks, feels and acts. Common symptoms include confused thinking, delusions, hallucinations, low motivation, and changes in language or behavior. However it is important to note that the diagnosis can present itself very different with each individual therefore getting a proper diagnosis is important for treatment.

Proper treatment can greatly improve the condition and reduce and even stop the symptoms all together. The media often portray people with schizophrenia as evil, having multiple personalities, and being tortured souls. However it is these myths that make so many not get diagnosis or early treatment. Research has shown that early detection can strongly impact the chances of recovery. Treatment usually consist of a combination of medication and community and family support. Talk therapy such as CBT can also be useful for those with the diagnosis change the way they think about their illness and how it affects them. It can help them learn to differentiate between what is real and what is not, all while helping them manage everyday life. Therapy can also be for the clients family and support system. 

The love and support of family and friends plays an important role in schizophrenia recovery and therapy can help educate and support the family to better the chances of success. If you or a loved one have received a diagnosis of schizophrenia, know that it can be successfully managed with the right supports and the earlier it is detected and treated, the better the chance of recovery.

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