Forget the headlines – schizophrenia is more common than you might think


Which illness frightens you most? Cancer? Stroke? Dementia? To judge from tabloid coverage, the condition we should really fear isn’t physical at all. “Scared of mum’s schizophrenic attacks”, “Knife-wielding schizophrenic woman in court”, “Schizo stranger killed dad”, “Rachel murder: schizo accused”, and

“My schizophrenic son says he’ll kill… but he’s escaped from secure hospitals 7 times” are just a few of dozens of similar headlines we found in a cursory internet search. Mental illness, these stories imply, is dangerous. And schizophrenia is the most dangerous of all.

Such reporting is unhelpful, misleading and manipulative. But it may be even more inaccurate than it first appears. This is because scientists are increasingly doubtful whether schizophrenia – a term invented more than a century ago by the psychiatric pioneer Eugen Bleuler – is a distinct illness at all. This isn’t to say that individuals diagnosed with the condition don’t have genuine and serious mental health problems. But how well the label “schizophrenia” fits those problems is now a very real question.

What’s wrong with the concept of schizophrenia? For one thing, research indicates the term may simply be functioning as a catch-all for a variety of separate problems. Six main conditions are typically caught under the umbrella of schizophrenia: paranoia; grandiosity (delusional beliefs that one has special powers or is famous); hallucinations (hearing voices, for example); thought disorder (being unable to think straight); anhedonia or the inability to experience pleasure; and diminished emotional expression (essentially an emotional “numbness”). But how many of these problems a person experiences, and how severely, varies enormously. Having one doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily develop any of the others.



“Such reporting is unhelpful, misleading and manipulative.”

I agree, I feel that even some professionals forget that there are many of us fellow sufferers who are functional, and are able to communicate on some level. Are able to hold a job. I do have a feeling that just because I"m not out of my head, babbling and licking the walls, I’m not being taken seriously when I say I’m not doing well.

1 Like


I think it is saying that there is no clear line between the ‘normal’ and ‘abnormal’. That things lie on a continuum. This i agree with. For example my paranoia probably(?) sits closer to ‘normal’ than that of someone with severe paranoid schizophrenia but further away than just a plain neurotic.



Part of my so called delusion is not believing the lies I’ve been told by the normals as the truth.



The stigma is just terrible. Once diagnosed with SZ OR SZA you are not credible.
No one will take you seriously. This is a sad statement of where society stands.
Even my needs or opinions are ignored by others. Really sad.




Today is upside down in many ways. Concerning schizophrenia, footlines are presented as headlines.

In other words, a minority is presented as being the majority.

What I have just stated sounds stupid and childish because all I have done is state the obvious.

This therefore also means that the news media is currently stupid and childish since they can’t see the obvious.



I have to agree with the previous comments. I think it’s a lot better than a few years ago.
Here in Northern Ireland, they ran an ad campaign two years ago that raised awareness of how common mental health issues are.
But I think SZ/SZA carries the biggest stigma. People are so quick to judge others without knowing the full facts.
That’s why online communities like ours are so important to have. :slight_smile:



i have accepted my label of SZA, i don’t care anymore what others think of it. i don’t tell them