Schizophrenia: Time to change the label.

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Schizophrenia carries a large amount of stigma, the idea that it involves a lot of health care service funding, and many individuals report shame from this label. Therefore, through changing the name we can attempt to reduce the stigma, and try to improve the public image of the disorder by giving a more realistic perception. Many people, for example, believe that schizophrenia encompasses “split personality”, which is incorrect. Schizophrenia is in fact a split from reality, an individual that experiences two of the following: hallucinations, delusions, disorganised thoughts, or negative symptoms (flat affect, rigid behaviour, etc.). However, the public’s idea is that a schizophrenic is simply an individual who has multiple personalities, an individual who at one point is Jack, and the next Jill. A change of name could create the opportunity to start afresh and attempt to educate, use anti-stigma campaigns, encourage public debate, and promote hope and recovery for those with this disorder.

Interestingly, research has found that healthcare professionals attempt to avoid giving the label “schizophrenic” when diagnosing an individual due to the large stigma that is accompanied with this label. However, by avoiding such a label they are also reducing the patient’s chance of recovery. One reason for the labelling of an individual is to ensure that the correct interventions are put in place, to enhance the likelihood that the individual will be able to overcome their disorder and live a “normal” life. Through the use of a name change, or rebranding, we can ensure that the individuals get the correct interventions in order to alleviate symptomology and reduce likely relapse that may result from incorrect intervention.

In a discussion by Clement and Foster (2008) it was made clear how public perceptions of schizophrenia are truly defined by media portrayals, whether that be exaggerated portrayals in movies or television shows, or even overexposure through news broadcasting resulting in the perception that schizophrenics are violent. As a result of this miscommunication, an exaggerated, and often negative view, of schizophrenia develops and can result in the stigma that is seen today. Through changing the name, this stigma could in turn disappear as individuals will no longer have an association between the new name and the previous negative portrayals (Lasalvia, Penta, Sartorius, & Henderson, 2015).

On the other hand, Lasalvia et al. (2015) discussed some of the disadvantages to changing the name. They believed that it would be a long and dubious process that would require a large amount of implementation. Furthermore, it would involve affecting patients, carers, and the general public’s ideas of mental health and the appropriate labels, which could actually increase confusion rather than alleviate it. Brabban et al. (2013) further believed that name changes are irrelevant, instead what needs to be done is to change public perception. It is unlikely, according to Brabban et al., that a name change alone would alleviate stigma or even change public perception. Although, a change of the name would be an initial step towards changing public perception and therefore could actually lead to reduced public stigma in the long-term through the appropriate educational avenues.

Overall, although it is unlikely to have any change for some time, it is likely that some change in name could be the first step in reducing the stigma associated with schizophrenia, whilst also allowing individuals to gain the most beneficial interventions for reducing the psychosis and chance of later relapse. Although it is a minor change, it is likely, if given the correct implementation, to have a large repercussions in the long-term in reducing public stigma and trying to reduce overall negative portrayals of the disorder.

Further Information

NHS: www.nhs.uk/conditions/Schizophrenia/Pages/Introduction.aspx

Mind: http://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/schizophrenia/#.VWHJikYV75U

ReThink: http://www.rethink.org/diagnosis-treatment/conditions/schizophrenia

Patient: http://www.patient.co.uk/health/schizophrenia-leaflet

Useful Contact Numbers

Mind: 0300 123 3393

ReThink: 0300 5000 927

Samaritans: 08457 90 90 90

Nightline: 0191 334 6444

Insomnia: What to do when sleep seems impossible.

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Everyone is familiar with that feeling of waking up after a bad night’s sleep – but imagine waking up like that every morning. This is what insomniac’s experience. Insomnia is a disorder characterised by the difficulty in falling asleep and then staying asleep. Whilst insomnia is often linked with other conditions such as depression, schizophrenia and asthma (this is known as secondary insomnia); most causes are not directly linked to other health conditions but are instead things like stress and anxiety (primary insomnia) and therefore can affect many people and any stage of their life. sheep Continue reading

Autism Spectrum Disorder: We need more funding

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Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is an umbrella term used to cover a wide range of characteristic behaviours, such as impairments in social interaction and communication, along with restricted repetitive patterns of behaviours (DSM 5; American Psychological Association, 2013). In 2003, Fombonne discussed how males are more likely to be diagnosed than females, with a ratio of 4.3:1. This finding has caused a mass amount of research into possible gender differences between males and females. The risk of these differences, according to Rivet and Matson (2011) is that it may cause females to be under-represented in the clinical population.

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Purple Day – Raising Awareness about Epilepsy

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Understanding Epilepsy and Seizures

Epilepsy is defined as possessing the tendency to have seizures. In the UK, there are over 600,000 people with epilepsy (British Epilepsy Association, 2015). The condition can develop at various ages for different people, from birth to adulthood.

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International Women’s Day: Time for Equality

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Today is international women’s day, and as part of that the WAM Awareness Representatives thought it would be good to reflect on St Mary’s past and devote attention to some of the alumni that have walked these halls. In addition, we’ll look at some of the most influential women in history. However, despite these many acclaimed females; equality still does not exist between men and women. For this reason we must keep pushing for equality and attempt to bring men and women in unison rather than debating who the better “sex” is.

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Josefina: My Story.

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My name is Josefina, I’m a first year doing English, German and History of Art, and I used to have an eating disorder. The first thing I want to make you aware of is that no eating disorder starts out of a diet gone wrong. You accumulate negative feelings along the way, possibly from a very early age – fear, loneliness, and a lack of sense of worth – and one day you will start trying to fix these feelings by eating differently or not at all.

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Body Dysmorphia: What do you see in the mirror?

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What we see in the mirror is not always an accurate representation of how we actually look.

What we see in the mirror is not always an accurate representation of how we actually look.

Many of us will feel uncomfortable about the way we look at some point in our lives, whether that is during childhood, puberty, late adolescence or even adulthood. This is a normal experience, as almost everyone consistently compares themselves to one another. This week there has been a focus on what is clinically seen as an eating disorder: Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa and Binge Eating Disorder. However, this particular post is going to focus on the maintenance side of these disorders, particularly their relation to body dysmorphia.

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Binge Eating Disorder: The Obese Persons New Excuse?

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When talking about an eating disorder, what do we mean? According to many publications, eating disorders are “severe disturbances in eating behaviour” (DSM-IV). The line of discussion for this article is whether we should see obesity as an eating disorder.

Many people see this image and think "ugly", "disgusting" or "repulsive". In fact, it may be that certain individuals cannot help their weight, but struggle on a day-to-day basis with body issues.

Many people see this image and think “ugly”, “disgusting” or “repulsive”. In fact, it may be that certain individuals cannot help their weight, but struggle on a day-to-day basis with body issues.

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Bulimia Nervosa: Just Another Type of Dieting, Right?

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Bulimia Nervosa is characterised by a binge, commonly lasting around 2 hours, which eventually results in compensatory behaviours.

Bulimia Nervosa is characterised by a binge, commonly lasting around 2 hours, which eventually results in compensatory behaviours.

People with bulimia try to control their body weight by restricting the amount of food they eat, they then binge eat large amounts before carrying out compensatory behaviours to overcome the calorie intake. For example, excessive exercise, vomiting or laxatives. This becomes a vicious cycle that can be hard to break. Life becomes a constant battle between the desire to lose weight and stay thin and the overwhelming compulsion to binge eat. People with bulimia can consume an average of 3,000-5,000 calories in one binge session but then feel guilty and ashamed afterwards. As a result they make themselves vomit or use laxatives as a drastic measure to try and ‘undo’ the binge. Interestingly, bulimia does not always involve purging, it can include over exercising, fasting and going on crash diets to make up for binges as well.

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Anorexia: No More Than A Skinny White Girl?

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This image shows how perceptually, an individual with anorexia can perceive himself or herself completely differently, to how others do. What the girl is seeing in the mirror is how she believes she looks, when in fact it is apparent that this is not the case.

This image shows how perceptually, an individual with anorexia can perceive himself or herself completely differently, to how others do. What the girl is seeing in the mirror is how she believes she looks, when in fact it is apparent that this is not the case.

Anorexia is a serious eating disorder, which involves constantly over worrying about your weight and trying to keep your body weight as low as possible. People with anorexia spend all of their time monitoring their calorie intake and avoid eating to try and lose weight. Many have been reported to have a distorted image of themselves and their body, which may contribute to its onset. Many often take part in excessive exercising too. When you have anorexia, the desire to lose weight becomes the most important thing in your life and you often lose the ability to see yourself as you truly are. Life becomes a relentless pursuit of thinness and going to extremes to lose weight – no matter how skinny you become, it is never enough.

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