Happiness in Schizophrenia Research suggests mental illness doesn’t preclude enjoying life

Schizophrenia is among the most severe forms of mental illness, yet some people with the disease are as happy as those in good physical and mental health according to a study led by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.

The study is published online this week in the journal Schizophrenia Research.

“People tend to think that happiness in schizophrenia is an oxymoron,” said senior author Dilip V. Jeste, MD, Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Neurosciences.
“Without discounting the suffering this disease inflicts on people, our study shows that happiness is an attainable goal,” said Jeste, who is also the Estelle and Edgar Levi Chair in Aging and director of the Sam and Rose Stein Institute for Research on Aging at UC San Diego. “This means we can help make these individuals’ lives happier.

One really interesting thing about the research that I found encouraging was this:

"Of clinical significance in terms of helping people with mental illness, the patients’ happiness was unrelated to the severity or duration of their illness, to cognitive or physical function or to socioeconomic factors such as age and education, which among healthy adults have been linked to a greater sense of well-being.

Instead, the study shows that happiness among those with chronic forms of schizophrenia is associated with positive psychological and social attributes such as resilience, optimism and lower perceived stress.

“What is impressive is that almost 40 percent of these patients are reporting happiness and that their happiness is associated with positive psychosocial attributes that can be potentially enhanced

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I’m glad researchers are realizing that this disease isn’t the end, and many of us cope and with time, help and healing… can get back in touch with our emotions.

We’re still human.

I’m not trying to brag… but compared to some people I’ve met who just have angry negative attitudes… I think I’m happier then some people who have no mental health issues.

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I’m happy sometimes. It feels good to get in a conversation sometimes. I smile, I talk, I’m a little happy.


This made me think of my good friend Jon who despite living with schizophrenia and stubbornly believing in the reality of the circus in his mind is in all but the very worst of times the most upbeat and funny guys I’ve ever known.

Jon…if your out there somewhere I certainly hope your staying safe.

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R.D Laing the scottish psychiatrist writes in his great book “the divided self”, that even though schizophrenia is a severe mental ilness, some suffererers are able to let the light into their lives. Something that many non-schizophrenics can not. I found that uplifting, and similar to this study.