Schizophrenia versus dissociation

There is this topic that I have been wondering about forever and don’t get a good answer to. I wonder if my psychotic symptoms are part of a dissociative traumadisorder rather than a schizophrenia-like disorder.

I am off meds (but will probably restart in a few days to prevent future trouble). I feel like my normal self in every way, except that there is little emotional connection to traumamemories.

I have experienced, much more than once, that I switched into a psychotic state. And then after a few minutes, hours or days switched out of it again. The switching causes a complete change in emotions (calmth versus fear and shame). In memories (traumarelated memories losing strenght or coming back full-on). In outlook on life. In opinions about other people. In character.

Medication or medical intervention is not always needed for switching back to my non-trauma-personality.

I have never heard anyone describe this. It seems similar to me to what people with two (or more) personalities describe, except that my other part carries so much fear that it loses connection to the reality others find normal.

Did anyone experience this? Is it how schizophrenia normally works?

I did not read whole post, so I may be missing something, but I don’t think dissociative trauma disorder causes delusions or hallucinations, the two biggest indicators of psychosis. I don’t think Schizophrenia and dissociation are easily confused.


Thanks for your response.

I wonder about that. I know (read and heard from people who have it) that PTSD and dissociative disorders very often go together with hearing voices or having delusional thoughts. I also read that people with schizophrenia often have trauma and dissociative symptoms.

The losing track of reality is obviously psychotic. But wouldn’t it be possible to have dissociative disorder with one non-psychotic personality and one psychotic alter?

The switching is so strange to me. I can get out of psychosis without medication as if a light switch is turned off. Do others have that too?

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Yes, dissociation is definitely a possible symptom of schizophrenia. I’m not so sure the reverse is true though. I don’t think dissociative disorders, by themselves, cause psychotic symptoms. I’m not an expert on dissociative disorders though.

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Thanks. Me neither. And neither is my doctor, he knows nothing about it. I just read that a huge percentage (30-40%) of people with PTSD also have psychotic symptoms. People don’t easily talk about that, I guess.

Psychotic symptoms in posttraumatic stress disorder - PubMed (

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I got PTSD from psychosis itself.

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I can imagine. For me psychosis and also treatment was extremely traumatic. Sorry it was for you as well. How are you now? Did you find a good way to deal with it?

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I take my meds faithfully and rarely sleep more than 2 hours without waking in night terrors.


Sorry about that. I have night terrors too, so I know how bad they are, but I have them only sometimes. I hope you get rid of them. Coincidence! I just read about a therapy that can help with nightmares. It was called Imagery Rehearsal Therapy. It was a specialized trauma centre that wrote about it (in my own language, so I can’t send it), so I guess they know what they are talking about. No idea what you already tried and what you have access to, but perhaps the info helps you.

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I have severe dissociative episodes. My psychiatrist has told me it’s the way my schizophrenia manifests. There is no help to the episodes that happen to me weekly basis. I have trauma background. I try to calm myself down and ground myself when a dissociative episode takes place. It is very scary and distressing thing to go through.

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I am sorry this happens to you.

I am also terrified by the switches into “horror mode”.

May I ask what you do to calm and ground yourself?

I am terribly bad at grounding myself. I just try to go home because there the dissociation is easier… but many times I have been to work when an episode starts and I do my best nobody can see that I’m in panic mode inside… I don’t show it at all, nobody knows what is happening inside of me. I feel so ashamed that I go to this kind of state. It’s not normal. But yeah I have tried to focus on breathing and calm myself down but it doesn’t work very well for me

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When they say that schizophrenia and psychosis can have environmental causes and not just genetic, a lot of the time they mean traumatic experiences and ptsd. But of course especially for someone with a genetic predisposition to it. Not sure if i was reading into the convo wrong but it seemed to me that this wasnt clear.

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