I personally don’t think my hallucinations can be considered as a symptom of Schizophrenia, because they have decreased in both quantity and vividness over these two years after taking medication, currently I’m not taking anything and it’s rare for me to hallucinate now, only while feeling an extremely negative emotion or panicking and even then I wouldn’t call it a psychotic episode. 2 years ago it was more of shadows taking on silhouettes of humans but still a little bit blurry and a disturbing amount of violent voices in my head (which I didn’t recognize at all), but nowadays if it ever happens, I just see couple of colorful animals or shapeless blobs of color, and I only hear what I heard throughout the several days with the voices from people I have heard it from but not forming any sort of pattern or making sense.

A. Generally, when someone receives a mental health diagnosis, it’s because they have met the symptom criteria for a specific mental illness. In the United States, mental illnesses and their symptoms are described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Mental health professionals use the DSM for guidance in determining which symptoms match a particular illness. They may not use the DSM in your country but probably have a similar diagnostic guide that provides defined symptoms for each mental illness.

It is common for people with schizophrenia not to believe that they are ill and to have difficulty recognizing their symptoms. Schizophrenia is a thought disorder. The symptoms of schizophrenia affect cognition and can distort one’s view of reality. It can trick your brain into falsely thinking things are true or not. That is the nature of the disorder.

Psychosis, by definition, is a break with reality. People experiencing psychosis have difficulty determining what is real and what is not real. If you are actively experiencing psychosis, that might explain why it’s difficult to agree with a diagnosis of schizophrenia. Once your symptoms are under control, you might have an easier time understanding your symptoms and diagnosis.

I would encourage you to talk to your treating professionals about your diagnosis. Ask them to explain why they believe you have schizophrenia. Hopefully you’re working with a treatment team that you like and trust. The more supportive people you have in your life, the better your prognosis and recovery will be. If you have additional questions, don’t hesitate to write again. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle