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Why Stereotypes About Psychosis Are Harmful

People tend to fear the unknown. While there is prejudice associated with most mental health conditions,psychosisis arguably the symptom the average person finds the most frightening.

Psychosis refers to a cluster of symptoms involving hallucinations, delusions and/or profound disorganization. It can occur in primary psychotic disorders, like schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder, and also in other conditions like bipolar disorder or major depressive disorder.

To the uneducated person, though, there’s likely to be a lumping together of “psychosis = crazy = schizophrenic = frightening = dangerous.” They reality of psychosis is simply not a part of the social dialogue. Since it is not understood, stereotypes are clung to more tightly when evaluating or contextualizing someone who appears to have psychosis.

As someone who has experienced both hallucinations and delusions, and as a mental health nurse, I want to set the record straight on why the most common stereotypes about psychosis are inaccurate and potentially harmful to the people experiencing them.

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