Schizoprenia is a mental illness involving split personalities such as Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
This is the most common misconception, according to experts. Pacific's Dr Ung says: 'The mind is indeed split and fractured, but the manifestation of that is not a split personality.'
Instead, patients have 'abnormal experiences' such as hearing voices or imagining things, and exhibit odd behaviour such as talking or laughing to themselves and making odd gestures. Interpersonal skills also deteriorate.
Schizoprenia is due to demonic possession or black magic
IMH's Dr Swapna says: 'Some families may think it's possession or black magic and they take the patient to temples or healers. This only delays treatment.'
Other doctors say that while some patients may actually show improvement in their condition under 'spiritual intervention', such as turning to religion, the issue is contentious and patients are advised to go back to medical help if it fails.
Schizoprenia is untreatable since there is no cure
Dr Khare C. B. from NUH's department of psychological medicine says this is untrue, adding: 'Many patients are able to be fully employed and live near-normal lives provided they continue the maintenance therapy as recommended and do not delay the treatment of initial episode for more than six months.'
According to NUH's Dr Leong, a majority of patients respond well to treatment, with only about 20 per cent remaining unwell.
People get schizophrenia because of a flaw in their character or upbringing
Dr Swapna says: 'It can happen to anybody. Patients should never feel guilty about having the illness.' She adds: 'For caregivers, it's hard. Sometimes they might blame themselves by saying 'I was a bad parent'. It's not about parenting.'