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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 32  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 143-148

A study of experiences of stigma and discrimination in patients with schizophrenia and bipolar mood disorder

Department of Psychiary, Government Medical College and Sir Takhtasinhji General Hospital, Bhavnagar, Gujarat, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Smruti S Karambelkar
Room No. 133, Department of Psychiatry, Government Medical College and Sir Takhtasinhji General Hospital, Bhavnagar, Gujarat
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0971-9962.181097

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Objectives: To study the experiences of stigma and discrimination among Schizophrenia and bipolar mood disorder (BMD) patients and to find if any difference in them is present. Materials and Methods: 50 patients diagnosed as BMD and Schizophrenia and in remission for at least 3 months were interviewed by a semi-structured scale. The verbatim was then analyzed qualitatively. Results: Eighty-six percent (86%) patients experienced stigma. Schizophrenia and BMD patients did not differ in their experiences of stigma proving that the tag of mental illness was stigmatizing enough and had no relation to the duration or intensity of illness. The major themes emerging out of the qualitative analysis showed that most of the patients experienced stigmatizing experiences at home with family members which included shame and ridicule, belittlement of opinion. At work place, inability to hide illness lead to change of job or been considered inept to carry out responsibility. Sixty percent (60%) believed that stigma could not be eradicated. On ways to combat stigma, most patients believed that adequate rehabilitation and an assertive attitude on the part of patients was most likely to work. Conclusions: Despite having longer remissions and a milder course than Schizophrenia, BMD patients experienced as much stigma as Schizophrenia patients.

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