Schizophrenia on YouTube


(Jan. 10, 2017) Search YouTube for “schizophrenia symptoms,” and you will find about 70,000 videos. Narrow it down further to “schizophrenia patient,” and you will come up with around 48,000.

The general public formulates concepts and opinions about psychiatric diseases based in part on what they see on the world’s third most-popular Internet site. So do medical students.

The trouble with these schizophrenia representations, according to a new study, is that most of the YouTube depictions are wrong, and they create a distorted picture of the condition that likely contributes to patient stigmatization by physicians.

Videos a “Distorted Picture”

For “Schizophrenia on YouTube” in the January 2017 issue of Psychiatric Services, Matthew M. Nour and colleagues scoured YouTube for a two-week period in 2015 to identify videos claiming to show footage of people with signs and symptoms of acute schizophrenia (SZ). They started with 21 search terms, such as “schizophrenia experience,” “schizophrenia symptoms” and “schizophrenia patient” and ultimately identified 4,200 videos for further screening. Once duplicates and others that were outside the study criteria were excluded (e.g., videos of children or less than 10 seconds in length), 55 videos met the study’s eligibility criteria, and 35 contained enough content to assess.

Two consultant psychiatrists independently assessed each of the qualifying videos for probable psychiatric diagnosis, depiction of psychopathology and whether the video was appropriate for teaching medical students the signs and symptoms of acute psychosis in schizophrenia. Viewer comments, ratings and other extraneous information were concealed from the reviewers.

The research team’s conclusion based on the assessments: “Schizophrenia presentations on YouTube offer a distorted picture of the condition.”

Specifically, they found:

Only one-third (12) of the videos contained signs and symptoms both reviewers agreed were consistent with a diagnosis of SZ. In 10 videos, only one of the reviewers diagnosed SZ.

Another one-third (13) showed behaviors both reviewers agreed was indicative of a psychiatric disease - but not SZ.

Fewer than half the videos contained adequate information to make an informed assessment of the psychopathology of the person involved.

In those that did contain adequate information, fewer than half were deemed to have “good educational utility” for medical students.


So…Sz on YouTube is a farce…full of misconceptions and poor examples…no real heroes or positive role models for the general public to take examples from…this is sad…


So what you are saying is that @Sooner88 and @thomas are rare in that they actually have schizophrenia when posting on you tube. If I made a you tube video I don’t know if I would look like someone with schizophrenia. My medication almost takes away my positive symptoms.


Had an internet friend that blogged on youtube mostly about sz. Both her and the vids have disappeared but have posted a few of her videos on this site.


I was just wondering about this today. I love documentaries, and so I decided to look up Sz videos… mio dio… I don’t think I’ve ever seen real Sz people, myself included, act the way I see in these videos. I understand that there are severe cases, but they present everyone with Sz acts like that…


I haven’t really talked about “life with SzA” yet. I’ve only gone over a brief rundown on symptoms and a brief summary of my life experiences. So I haven’t contributed much yet. And I wouldn’t be considered as part of the Schizophrenia videos since SzA is different.


Dammit man…I like you…but I disagree with they arnt the same…Sz is a spectrum disease and you just happen to sit on the part currently labeled sza…last I checked the meds and treatment mirror each other…and sza still has the huge Sz part to it…and where does that place the 6 of us who also show disassociate identity disorder symptoms on top of our Sz or sza…should I fracture myself off into the szdid group…then the 6 of us would have to divide up into szdid and szadid…


That kinda sounds like I’m having a go at you…but its the opposite…when I first joined their was a debate or demand that Sz and sza get their own posting section…its just asking to split up a community that needs all the people and love we can muster…I could probably be re labeled sza due to getting manic…but what I’m trying to say is the struggle is diff for each person already… so the DX of Sz or sza or the newly formed szdid and szadid…doesn’t matter really…and I’m telling you these things because you are becoming a representation on a public platform for our community…I just want to see you represent for all of us…please don’t fracture off…