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The myths and realities of psychosis

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Because of stigmas and misinformation, many have a false understanding of what having psychosis really means.  Since May is Mental Health Awareness Month, we at the Early Treatment Program wanted to discuss the myths and realities of psychosis. Here are a few myths that people commonly believe, as well as the realities of psychosis and recovery:

MYTH: Individuals with psychosis have a “split personality” or multiple personality disorder.

FACT: People with psychosis do not have two or more distinct personalities that they alternate between. They may hear voices or believe things about themselves that we know are not true, but they have one personality with their own unique feelings, thoughts and behaviors.

MYTH: Individuals with psychosis are crazy.

FACT: TV shows and movies have portrayed individuals with psychosis as being “crazy” or unpredictable. People with psychosis are not crazy, but are suffering from a treatable illness.

MYTH: People with psychosis are dangerous.

FACT: Actually, individuals with psychosis are at greater risk for injuring themselves than injuring others. If someone with psychosis becomes angry or makes threats, it is usually because of paranoia and feeling frightened.

MYTH: People with psychosis will never recover.

FACT: Recovery is possible! The experience of psychosis is different for every person. The truth is that psychosis is a treatable mental illness. Many young people with psychosis go on to finish school, get jobs, and continue to have meaningful relationships with those they love. Support from family, friends, coworkers, and one’s treatment team is necessary when working to achieve individual goals.

Let’s challenge the stigma during Mental Health Awareness Month. To learn more about how you can stop stigma and spread awareness about psychosis, give the Early Treatment Program a call at (718) 470-8888 or come pay us a visit!

Beth Broussard, MPH, CHES

Loren Dent, PhD

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