Is this the true face of schizophrenia?

This is an advertisement from the manufacturers of Latuda, a popular atypical antipsychotic.
They are visibly portraying a man afflicted with schizophrenia. (to the left)
Notice the very casual look to him, the unshaven stubble on his face, the unkempt hair, the circles under his eyes, The sullen vacant expression on his face. Is this how pharmaceutical companies see us? Is this how the world sees us? Is this the way we see ourselves? Is there some truth to this?
I think that how we present ourselves on the outside has a lot to do with how we feel on the inside - lots of times I am in emotional pain, feeling down and anxious, overwhelmed or feel a bit off mark and you know what - it shows
Again, there will always be exceptions What do you think?


I don’t know because I had not taken photos of myself during the relapse. But I know if I don’t take meds, I would be suffering from a sleepless life day and night endlessly. That would makes me look sullen vacant on the face.

I know I feel beat to hell by the medical community if I have an active psychosis going on. nothing to smile about, they treat us like â– â– â– â– .

but if i’m having my psychosis, out riding my bike, I have a big smile on my face all the time. That struck me the last time, I saw homeless people out riding their bikes, huge smiles on their faces, babbling away to themselves. that’s more like real Sz to me, happy folks on bikes :slight_smile:

but then these freaks at the pharmacuetical companies are marketing these drugs to their freak psychiatrists, so yes, that is how they see us.

This is sort of confusing to me because the picture on the left looks like almost every U.W. Sophomore I’ve ever seen. A bit a stubble and messy hair is sort of the going fashion up here in Rain city.

The guy on the left to me… doesn’t look like someone suffering Sz, but someone suffering from 2001 Grunge fashion and too much Satrbucks coffee.

I sort of cringe when people have this idea that you can just look at me and SEE the SZ. My Uncle has SZ and due to his military training when he was young, no matter what has always been clean shaven, and inspection ready. I know some people who don’t have any mental illness and they always dress homeless.

I do agree with your statement. When I’m not doing well there are little tell tale things that cue my family. But again, they know me. They see me everyday. Even then, I think it’s how I carry myself, the lack of emotion in my answers, my topic jumping. I could shave, pull back my hair, wear nice new clothing and if I’m slumping around and answering questions with a lack of caring or lack of emotions… then it doesn’t matter how good I look. I’m in a slump… my family sees it.

To the average stranger hurrying for the bus, I look like any other guy walking around in the rain.


I have always wondered how pdocs see us - There is a lot of stereotypical thinking among mental health professionals. I mean I may look beaten down at times, but I do not think I look that bad, maybe when I am relapsing, but not when I am doing fairly well on meds. The advertisement photo kind of pisses me off - we all do not look like zombies


no we don’t, makes me mad too. but the marketing folks need to sell their drugs. Like, if they put a photo of Beyonce on their ad, Dr’s won’t think of schizo and won’t be compelled to prescribe the drug.

Britanny Spears with a bald head, that would sell a few pills I’m sure :wink:

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Yes I do see your point too, but I do know that stereotypes of the mentally ill exist. Mental health professionals stereotype us all of the time - this also pisses me off

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that approving look is what stands out to me. it is all about control American style. our Affect is what counts, in otherwords appearances. all the old major tranquilizers had it right. the mental patient shuffling down the hall like in the movies. that my comrades is what they are selling.

I think there is truth in this based on what I have seen with my son in and out of psychosis. While dealing with positive symptoms he very much becomes on the left.

Yeah it is very hard to take real notice on how I look, but I think that you are right @BarbieBF - when I am having off days - I kind of do resemble the Latuda schizophrenic poster boy, but I have been making great strides in the shaving dept :smiley:


Casual? that dude looks like a Zombie! Or on dope…the sunken eyes and unkempt look.
Looks are deceiving…they are using this to promote their expensive meds…knowing that visual stimuli sells things…same way they use models to sell clothes, hair care products, makeup, etc…
The “If you use this product you will look better” ploy.
To be honest i have seen people look equally or worse strung out and unkempt ON meds. I have a couple pics of someone looking pretty rough on meds but cannot post them out of respect for their privacy…

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Wait…look at this enlargement…This guy has either been in an accident or had botched plastic surgery…or else the photos are shopped…look at those scares, which appear to be enhanced in the “before” photo…also note the square scar area around his eye on the right in the first pic… that doesnt even look real

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I can see some truth to these images. At least in myself. When I’m in active psychosis, I let my health and hygein go. I’ll let my hair grow out, have dark circles under my eyes, have perpetual 5 o’clock shadow.

I think this is the case with a lot of people who aren’t being treated properly, or who are treatment resistant. They may not realize it, but their appearance and affect suffer.

I’m not offended by the ad at all. I’m honesty happy that it isn’t much worse. Like showing a guy in a prison jumpsuit. Or a homeless guy on the streets.

Sure, healthcare professionals have preconceived notions about us. That’s because many of them got their clinical experience in institutions. And in an age where antipsychotic medications hadn’t yet evolved to the point where they are now. Its going to take time to shift those notions into the picture of the modern schizophrenia sufferer.

Though it might offend some people, I think this ad is a step in the right direction in showing doctors and the public just what schizophrenia REALLY is–and what it can be with effective treatments.




I was about to say…those are two different men. Or at least look like it. I understand what the ad is portraying but as a student of advertising and communications this wouldn’t even pass a college ad campain. It is offensive because it brings back the old stereotype that people with schizophrenia are dirty or dirty when they don’t take their meds. Thats not even true. There are a lot of people advocating for recovery without medication and promote therapy/alternatives. That advertisement doesn’t really help the case that medication is the best thing for everyone with schizophrenia or bipolar mania. I don’t like how the picture has like scratch marks all over it either. It looks like he botched shaving his face. And they obv aren’t the same person or look significantly different.

I would have put an ad image of someone “doing something” rather than appearing this way. For instance a man laying on a park bench holding a newspaper over his head vs. the SAME man in a suite and tie at a job interview. Or a woman or man with their head in their hands to portray suffering and anguish vs. a man or woman smiling at a carnival in a crowd of happy people.

It’s a good point to be brought up. While I’m sure the intentions were modest, our culture is still failing at grasping the wealth of knowledge on the subject of mental illness and tackling real the issue of diversity and disability. It doesn’t exactly say “look how far we’ve come” ya know…

Instead it sends this image of helplessness. I feel sorry for whoever made the ad, they either didn’t take it seriously or never took PR or Psyche history in college.

I would say homelessness is realistic though. So is suicide. I’d focus more on that than how well someone’s shaved. My mom has schizophrenia and she puts on more makeup and does her hair more often since becoming ill than before lol.

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I know I feel like the guy on the left when not doing good, but I sure as heck don’t look like that. Maybe it’s because I’m a girl…!

@e_lunaseer I think the ad department means for those lines to be like a picture “torn/ripped apart” then “put back together” haphazardly, then with meds the “rips” start to heal.
Just my 2 cents worth.


I have a photo of myself my father took when I was hospitalised for the first time - I looked sick because my eyes were huge and staring, and looked dark and sunken. My clothes were bizarre as well.

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As I became unwell when at school, I had photos practically every year. You can see my decline, over three years I went from looking healthy to that image if you can imagine it in a female form, my hair was a mess and I look washed out and exhausted, the shadows under my eyes were fierce.

I always remember the day I lost time and had come back having actually made a serious attempt at suicide, I had to go to the centre of the town and wait for the ambulance, I must have looked horrific because I was practically acute at the time and probably looked like that picture, I remember trying not to cry as people crossed over the street to avoid me. I was only 16 at the time and I’m very small, yet they all feared me.

I’ve seen people fear me and even though these sort of adverts don’t help as it tells people what to look for I can see where they’re coming from. I certainly looked like that and still do sometimes, I don’t like to admit it but I do.

I don’t like stereotypes though, I’ve certainly met a lot of stigma in the mental health system because I didn’t fit a category initially, that put me through a lot of rubbish before I got to the right people who knew that mental health isn’t rigid; it’s fluid.


This is exactly the aim of the ad - The illness tears us apart and supposedly this med stitches everything back together again - its all about marketing

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I can relate to the dark circles under the eyes. :eyes: