Comments on
13 Myths of Schizophrenia

By John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

13 Myths of SchizophreniaSchizophrenia is one of those mental disorders that many people seem to confuse with something else, such as multiple personality disorder. It’s a very simple yet very terrifying condition, characterized by usually having a …

18 Comments to
13 Myths of Schizophrenia

Before posting, please read our blog moderation guidelines. The comments below begin with the oldest comments first. Click on the last comments page to jump to the most recent comments.

  1. what is the difference between schizoaffective and schizophrenia. what do we do to , or what committments do we need to make? we have to live with strict healthy living habits, more so than a non schizoaffective person maybe? ty

  2. John, I enjoy your articles and applaud your efforts to educate the public about various mental health disorders and issues. I don’t mean to nit pick but using the term “multiple personality disorder”, a term that was changed with the publication of DSM-IV in the ’90s to “dissociative identity disorder”, can mislead folks without a full understanding of DID to believe outdated perceptions of the disorder and the stigma that was attached to DID when it was still named MPD.

  3. These aren’t exactly “myths”.

    A few are just silly; the rest could be accurately annotated as “true for some”.

    Some people with schizophrenia are dangerous, unpredictable and out of control.

    Some sufferers need to be hospitalized.

    Some people with schizophrenia can’t lead productive lives.

    Some individuals with schizophrenia can never regain normal functioning.

  4. This article isn’t very accurate.

    1) Schizophrenia can seem to come on quickly, especially when symptoms of the prodromal stage are subtle.

    2) Cognitive deficits (memory, attention, executive functioning) are a symptom of schizophrenia. Those deficits may not be permanent and can improve with treatment/time.

    3) The comment about psychosis is silly. Perhaps it should read “those with schizophrenia may go through episodes of psychosis. It is not a permanent, stable symptom of the illness.”

  5. Schizophrenia is a mental disorder which usually destroys people closest to them. i had a mother in law, who would sometimes fly into a rage, cut her wrists when she saw me and my fiancee being close. She also used to love me and want my attention. Her behaviour literally ate away at our relationship because she caused many problems for us. This is the hate they spread and should be under medication most of the time. It is horrible when they destroy other peoples lives.

  6. #4 is partially true: “Cognitive decline is a major symptom of schizophrenia.”

    Approximately 70% of individuals suffering from schizophrenia suffer from cognitive deficits.

    Though it is currently not a diagnostic symptom for the illness, it is a major symptom that research points to as having more of an impact on psychosocial functioning, such as employment, than even positive symptoms.

  7. Just to clarify, I mention #4 being “partially true,” cause I am not exactly clear what Margarita Tartakovsky meant by “major symptom”. If she was referring to cognitive deficits being a diagnostic symptom, then yes, it would be a myth (see my post above). However, it is still a symptom present in a large majority of individuals with schizophrenia.

  8. This is so true, I know someone who is schizophrenic and he is a wonderful and fruity guy!

  9. There are so many different sorts of individuals who get the label “schizophrenia,” and so many different outcomes, that it seems one is often better off not using the label at all. After all, labels tend to be helpful when they tell us what to do with that which has been labeled, but no one has yet come up with a treatment that works for all those diagnosed with “schizophrenia.” Some do seem to do better with medication, others really find it makes them feel like a zombie, and many recover better off medications.
    It isn’t even correct to say that schizophrenia is completely different from Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), or Multiple Personality Disorder as they used to call it. After all, what is a voice but a fragment of the self that has it’s own opinion? And “voices” frequently try to take people over, as do the “alters” of people diagnosed DID. Research has found that the more positive symptoms of “schizophrenia” the person has, the more likely that person is to also fit a DID diagnosis.
    Of course, there are also differences as well between people who are more likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia than with DID (and there are the people who first get diagnosed with one, then the other, then maybe switch back, etc.)
    In real life, people have problems with the way they are organized, these problems are all individual, and it is best to not take the categories too seriously.

  10. thanks for writing about 13 myths of Schizofrenia…all is true…by the way if interested to learn more about treatment and medications see on http://24drug.com/

  11. The medical model of so-called ‘schizophrenia’ is fallacious. If the condition were properly understood, a great deal of progress could be made in a very short time not to mention financial savings as well as alleviation of needless human suffering. Schizophrenia is not an illness but a crisis of psychospiritual transformation. The fac that it becomes more common is an indication of present social trends to ignore the workings of the human psyche and especially of the moral or ‘spiritual’ dimension. Interestingly, the genes for so called ‘schizophrenia’ have been favored by evolution because high sensitivity (characteristic of the ‘schizophrenia’ prone) is necessary for human sociability and therefore for human survival.
    So-called ‘Schizophrenia’ as a Process of Uncontrolled
    Spiritual Emergence or ‘Spiritual Emergency’
    The psychiatric profession has created one of the greatest myths of our time by describing so-called ‘schizophrenia’ as a nonspecific disease or ‘mental illness’. It was German psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin (1856-1926) who originally coined the Latin name ‘dementia praecox’ meaning ‘prematurely out of one’s mind’ because he believed that this supposedly devastating condition resulted from irreversible mental deterioration. Later it became clear that the term was a misnomer and in 1910 a new term was provided by the kind and humane Swiss psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler (1857-1939), teacher of Carl Jung and professor of psychiatry at the University of Zürich where he headed the famous Burghölzli Clinic. Bleuler coined the term ‘schizophrenia’ for ‘splitting of the mind’ since the condition seemed to involve a mental separation between thought and emotion.The term is derived from German ‘schizophrenie’ from Greek ‘skhizein’ meaning ‘to split’ and ‘phren’ of unknown origin meaning ‘heart or mind’ so that ‘schizophrenia’ actually means ‘broken soul’ or ‘broken heart’. Although there is still no universally accepted definition of the term, it has been applied to various conditions including a set of socially and culturally unacceptable thinking and behaviour patterns thus making it a model of ‘unwanted conduct’.
    In fact so-called ‘schizophrenia’ is not a disease nor is it a hopeless condition. It is a brilliant condition which is the concern of the psychology of the transpersonal or spiritual dimension of human nature i.e. ‘transpersonal psychology’. In this light schizophrenia is a personal ‘story’ of a natural and temporary self-healing and self-organising process involving the dissolution and removal of illusions and false beliefs which originate from social conditioning. In this sense schizophrenia is a transformative process, a crisis of transformation or ‘psychospiritual crisis’. Furthermore it can be understood as a part of the human condition and as a process which reveals information about the nature of the human psyche, human personality or ‘human nature’.
    Much needless suffering results from ignorance of the multidimensional nature of human nature. Insights into the workings of human nature are revealed by combining Western scientific research with concepts provided by Eastern psychologies concerned with the dimension of human nature beyond the persona or ‘ego’. The transpersonal or ‘spiritual’ dimension is defined in terms of the divinity of humanness and universal moral values. Human values are the social values of social intelligence.… ‘beauty’ as truth, ‘truth’as knowledge, ‘knowledge’ as understanding, ‘understanding’ as love, ‘love’ as unconditional lovingkindness or ‘compassion’, ‘justice’ as morality, ‘morality’ as freedom of conscience or peace, ‘peace’as social responsibility, ‘wisdom’ as intelligence, ‘intelligence’ as creativity and productivity or ‘creative intelligence’. Awareness of human values results in spiritual awareness, spiritual insight or ‘intuition’. Intuition allows for accurate evaluation of the complexities of changing social conditions and is therefore necessary for effective adaptation to the social environment or ‘social adaptability’ and human survival.
    The human species is a social species, the human organism is a social organism and human nature is a moral, spiritual or ‘social’ nature with instincts for social cooperation and social harmony i.e. ‘social instincts’. Social instincts must be cultivated in a process of development of moral consciousness or ‘conscience’. The function of the conscience is to preserve the integrity or ‘wholeness’of the personality. Rational conscience is the product of moral, spiritual and social development resulting in transformation of the self and the knowledge of one’s human nature or ‘self-knowledge’. Self-knowledge is prerequisite to social or spiritual intelligence required for effective social adaptability. The process of moral or spiritual development is also known variously as ‘individuation’, ‘self-realisation’, ‘self-actualisation’, ‘spiritual renewal’, ‘spiritual awakening’, ‘spiritual rebirth’, ‘enlightenment’ or ‘spiritual emergence’. Spiritual emergence is a gradual and controlled transformation process which results in the understanding of the ultimate connectedness or ‘unity’of all things.
    “In the most general terms, spiritual emergence can be defined as the movement of an individual to a more expanded way of being that involves enhanced emotional and psychosomatic health, greater freedom of personal choices, and a sense of deeper connection with other people, nature and the cosmos. An important part of this development is an increasing awareness of the spiritual dimension in one’s life and in the universal scheme of things. Spiritual development is an innate evolutionary capacity of all human beings. It is a movement towards wholeness or ‘holotropic state’, the discovery of one’s true potential.” (Stanislav Grof)
    Spiritual emergence is a gradual dynamic, fluid, naturally ordered and integrated on-going process of personal development into greater maturity and spiritual awareness. The process involves personal evolution from the limited sense of self … the false self or ‘ego’ and its egocentric perspective to the expanded sense of self beyond ego, the ‘higher self’, the ‘authentic self’ or ‘Self’ and its transpersonal perspective. Transcendance of the ego or ‘ego-transcendance’ allows for expansion of consciousness and heightened awareness resulting in an inner sense of emotional liberation. Intuition is purified and sharpened thus allowing for a clearer more accurate perception of reality and the discovery of ideas and behaviours which are effective for social adaptability. Spiritual emergence is the source of personal power because it allows for the attainment of knowledge of one’s true nature (‘self-knowledge’) as the source of motivation for personal productiveness and creativity or ‘work’ (‘self-empowerment’).
    Complete spiritual development takes place over a period of years and depends on conditions of freedom and an education which allows for the complete development of the person as a whole i.e. ‘holistic education’. Holistic education is based on respect for the biologically based motives for learning and behaviour i.e. ‘human needs’. Human needs include both ‘lower’ psychological needs for security and self-esteem – the ‘ego needs’ – and ‘higher’ psychological needs for moral development, the instinctive yearnings for human values, the spiritual needs or ‘metaneeds’. Motivation by the metaneeds (‘metamotivation’) allows for the discovery of one’s true potential. Each person is at a different stage of spiritual emergence depending on the level of their moral or spiritual development.
    If in highly sensitive individuals the process of spiritual emergence is blocked for any reason then they might undergo a period of crisis or ‘emergency’ involving the rapid formation of essential adjustments for effective adaptation. The transformation process of spiritual emergence can be so dramatic as to become uncontrollable ‘spiritual emergency’, also known as transpersonal experience, transpersonal crisis, psycho-spiritual transformation, psychospiritual crisis, spiritual journey, hero’s journey, dark night of the soul, spiritual opening, psychic opening, psychic awakening, spiritual awakening, enlightenment, kundalini awakening, kundalini process, kundalini crisis, shamanic initiation, shamanic crisis, psychotic-visionary episode, ego death, ego loss, alchemical process, positive disintegration, post traumatic stress disorder with psychotic features, night sea journey, psychosis, shamanism, mysticism, gnosis, inner apocalypse, and so on. Spiritual emergency is characterised by spontaneous alternative consciousness states or ‘realities’ in which the person experiences unbearably distressing psychic overload involving chaotic and overwhelming sensory experiences which in fact offer invaluable opportunities for personal growth and positive transformation.
    Spiritual emergency is a process of healing and renewal which involves the dissolution and removal of illusions and false beliefs originating in the programming of social conditioning. The conditioning leads to the formulation of aberrant thought complexes and these prevent the person from making accurate evaluations of their social environment. Inaccurate evaluations lead to inappropriate decision-making and non-adaptive behaviour patterns. In a period of crisis, the person instinctively surrenders to the organismic process which involves the temporary separation of thought and emotion (‘ego-loss’) which is necessary for the reassessment of their thoughts without having to deal with the emotional implications. The apparently bizarre speech and behaviour patterns reveal the passage from lower to higher consciousness states in which the person experiences a series of varying stages or ‘episodes’. These can be frightening and confusing to onlookers because they appear to be out of context with everyday reality and as a result they are often misunderstood. They are mistakenly believed and discredited to represent ‘symptoms’ of disease or ‘mental illness’. Perceived as pathological they are considered to be medically ‘treatable’. In fact the apparent ‘symptoms’ are manifestations of a spontaneous healing effort by the organism as a whole. The person eventually learns to grow beyond fear based ego-consciousness, beyond cultural conditioning and the ‘conditioned self’, beyond the expectations of others and towards the new transpersonal, moral or ‘spiritual’ dimension of awareness which allows for development of personal potential and effective social adaptability.
    The successful outcome of spiritual emergency depends on the correct understanding, respect, encouragement and support which allow it to reach full completion.

  12. The medical model of so-called ‘schizophrenia’ is fallacious. If the condition were properly understood, a great deal of progress could be made in a very short time not to mention financial savings as well as alleviation of needless human suffering. Schizophrenia is not an illness but a crisis of psychospiritual transformation. See writings of Psychiatrist Dr. Stanislav Grof.

  13. It’s not an abnormality of the brain. It’s caused by some forms of signals sent from the outside of the brain to disturb brain functions. Researchers will never know the true causes when they look at only the inside of the brain. The problem is that it’s very difficult or impossible to know what are the sources of the signals and where they are. I notice that when I obeyed whatever the signals forced me to do the signals strengthen and when I successfully disobey the signals, the sources seem to be destroyed. Once I knew this, I began disobeying whatever the signals forced me to do or to think. That works. Currently, there are only few sources left to be destroyed.

  14. I have never seen schizophrenia in little chldren.
    I feelthat emotional trauma causes the split in the mind so deeply the brain creats two people. this can be fixed very simply.

  15. This website came in very handy. As a student doing a research paper on the way media and rumors affect people suffering with mental illness. I now have a great list to use in my paper. Thank you

  16. what are the dieffrences between bipolar disoder and schizophrenia?

  17. This article is very helpful. I am a college student and this is exactly what we are going over in class. Schizophrenia does tend to get mixed up with multiple disorders a lot, but yet the differ very much. The only reason they do get mixed up is because the Schizo in Schizophrenia means “split” but that does not mean multiple. The 13 myths of schizophrenia are quite interesting though. Some of them have to deal with being paranoid, catatonic, and disorganized disorders. which is what we have been going over.

  18. You forgot the biggest myth of all time: Schizophrenics have a split personality

Join the Conversation!

Before posting, please read our blog moderation guidelines.

Post a Comment:


(Required, will be published)

(Required, but will not be published)

(Optional)

Recent Comments
  • lisa: The original post says at the end to call the police. As if I want to be forced into a crazy bin. I already...
  • nowiknow: My Lord, it has taken me YEARS to finally figure out who I am married to–an extreme narcissist. My...
  • Jeanne Melanson: I love this article. I have suffered from chronic depression for most of my 58 years. I’ve...
  • Sparrow: That is a misunderstanding — getting 8 hours of consolidated sleep is natural and healthy. The broken...
  • Sparrow: I would like to second what Delayed2Sleep said. I live with Non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Disorder and you...
Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter


Find a Therapist
Enter ZIP or postal code



Users Online: 9727
Join Us Now!