Can Schizophrenia Be Traumatizing?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

I had depression when i was 12 then i started to be paranoid the the ideas was very scary and life threatening it was kind of rational and logical and it looked very real but it wasnt realistic and it was out of control i suffered silently so i didnt receive any help i dont remember every thing happened this month but i can remember flashbacks like the ptsd after that the paranoia stopped and my iq dropped dramatically i was studying more and have less grades my social life changed i stopped to feel emotions , generally i have most of ptsd symptoms for 4 years then i started to think about what happened to me then i had little paranoia again but it was manageable and my iq increased but not like normal less and in other way i can not really describe it with no significant improve in the delayed ptsd symptoms i have gone to doctors since i was 16 and not one of them diagnosed me with ptsd they saied that its just schizophrenia ,i took pills it wasn’t very helpful so i lost hope and stoped for year until i saw an article about ptsd monthe ago. i want to know am i right or its just schizophrenia ?

A. Schizophrenia can be traumatizing. Some people with schizophrenia have no recollection of their symptoms. A possible explanation for this is that the traumatizing nature of schizophrenia leads the unconscious mind to block these memories and experiences.

Some individuals with schizophrenia refuse to discuss their symptoms. This avoidance might be explained by the fact that schizophrenia symptoms can be very frightening. Those willing to speak about their symptoms have described them as being a “living hell” or “hell on earth.”

Having said that, very effective treatments exist to treat schizophrenia symptoms. Individuals with schizophrenia can live high quality lives. Generally speaking, the best way an individual with schizophrenia can achieve stability is to consistently adhere to their treatment plan and to surround themselves with a strong support system.

It is common for individuals with schizophrenia to also have posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Studies have shown that many individuals with schizophrenia have a history of abuse or have endured some type of tragic event at some point in their lives. Those traumatic experiences could explain why schizophrenia and PTSD commonly co-occur.

It is difficult to know if you have a single disorder or a combination of disorders. I would encourage you to explore all possibilities with a psychiatrist. Having a psychiatric evaluation is the best way to have your questions answered. I would also encourage you to become more educated about PTSD and schizophrenia. The more that you know about these two conditions, the more clarity you might gain about your symptoms. I wish you the best. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 11 Jun 2011

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2011). Can Schizophrenia Be Traumatizing?. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 21, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/06/11/can-schizophrenia-be-traumatizing/