Dave's Progress. Chapter 7: What's in a Name?
|Thankyou again for your comments on my last blog. I will definitely get back to you.|
This time I was going to talk about some of the work we are doing at MAGMH as I am finding it particularly interesting at the moment. We are currently researching the possibilty of changing the name of schizophrenia to something a little less stigmatizing. I say a little less, what I really mean is alot less, as I'm sure we all know about the prejudices that surround "that word". Anyway, if you don't know, I shall inform you- consider it educational!
For a start, and in no small part due to sheer semantics, people often confuse schizophrenia with a "Jekyll and Hyde", split personality. Of course those of us who know better, know better. But that doesn't stop the general public confusing the condition with something that is more like dissociative identity disorder. Such misunderstandings lead to misattribution of anti-social bahaviours and stigma.
Secondly, many of us imagine a diagnosis of schizophrenia to be some sort of death sentence and depictions of it tend to the stereotypical, of it being a situation of complete hopelessness, inability to function at any level and encroaching chronicity. Truth is, up to a third of us diagnosed with "schizophrenia" make a full recovery. Despite this, stories of people "living with" schizophrenia are very rare, and even rarer are stories of achievement despite the illness.
Which brings us lastly and no means leastly to our old friends the media. Unfortunately both the red tops and sometimes even the broadsheets continue to make the misreperesentative connection between schizophreia and violence, deviance and criminality. This stereotype is deeply ingrained and perhaps the most harmful of all, despite us all knowing that something like alcohol causes alot more trouble in this area than any burgeoning "schizophrenic" could.
Also, we know that such stigma can creep into almost every area of our lives, so it seems that for these reasons alone, this should be enough to bring about a new name and a new outlook.
Perhaps you are all thinking that simply cahanging the name won't change anything at all- that the stigma will simply catch up with it. Perhaps, but evidence from Japan shows, where the name was changed to "integration disorder", that the name change brought about an effective reduction in stigma and greater achievement of social integration. It also brought about anti-stigma activities throughout the country and new ant-stigma policies being implemented by the government. Going on this evidence, perhaps we should give renaming a chance.
So, you might ask, what would you call it then? Well, there have been quite a few suggestions made. To name but three, they are "dopamine dysregulation disorder", "integration disorder", and "post-traumatic psychosis". I have to point out that these are not terms either chosen or endorsed by MAGMH, but have come up in my own research. Perhaps all of them carry their own implicit problems, but I tend to think that any of them are an improvement on "schizophrenia".
But perhaps even better, lets finally shoot the damn dog, scrap all the labels and just alow ourselves to be people. Howz 'bout that.
Anyway, if you do decide to comment please let me know what you think about changing the name. Your comments, as always, will be valued by me and indeed, all of us at MAGMH.
Until next time, that's all from your paranoid, delusional, integrationally disordered man.
P.S. Hello to Klahanie and Radioman. I believe we may be the last bloggers standing!