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Schizophrenia and Split Personality: One and The Same?

Updated on October 9, 2014

The Paranoid Subtype

They may not appear odd or unusual, but auditory hallucinations and delusional thoughts are prominent
They may not appear odd or unusual, but auditory hallucinations and delusional thoughts are prominent

Two Separate People

Amy, was an officemate and though she worked in our Sales Department, while I at the Executive Offices, we became friends through constant interaction during business planning sessions with the marketing people. She was always polite and unassuming. She didn't join us or other staff during breaktime or lunch. She had something prepared in her snack bag all the time like sandwiches or chocolate chips and willingly offered it to people around her. Every afternoon, I chance upon her as if talking with someone in the ladies room, or at the lobby alone. I sensed her voice pitch would change when replying to that person talking at that time. To my amazement, she was doing conversation with no one but herself. I greeted her, and she would greet me in return. As soon as she got distracted with that greeting of mine, how easily for her to get back to doing self-talking again. She was the center of gossip and hush tone of voices from the employees who got disturb with Amy's unusual conversation to herself. One time, the boss was looking for her as complaints from irate customers flooded in. We found her crying, angry and screaming to someone outside the offices alone and doing her conversation with herself once more.

Myth or Just Being Misunderstood?

As far as we know, when the company hired Amy there was no mention of a mental disorder in her medical history or background from her family. It was later found out, she was diagnosed at one time to have Schizophrenia but discontinued treatment. We all wanted to help, but her immediate family decided she must resign from work.

One "myth" on Schizophrenia is that 64% of Americans believed that it involved "split personality" or in the case of Amy, acting like there are two separate people within her. Schizoprenia and dual or multiple personality disorder are two different, unrelated condition.

A person with Schizophrenia doesn't have two or more different personalities. Instead he or she got false ideas or had lost touch with reality. There are many types of this kind and the most common is the Paranoid Schizophrenia where delusions and hallucinations remain consistent over time.

Unable to tell the difference between real and unreal experiences.
Unable to tell the difference between real and unreal experiences.

Treatable

In the case of my friend Amy, the love and support of family and friends with compassion and understanding benefitted her and even made her condition treatable with the aid of continuous medication. When we think that holding a job like Amy's and of those who got schizophrenia like her is too much, Doctors and Psychiatry Consultants believed that it could make them feel better doing something productive. It is critical to recovery. With the proper approach and treatment many of them should stay in the game.

Delusions and Hallucinations

People with Paranoid Schizophrenia, the most common subtype, majority of them got delusions and auditory hallucinations. On delusions, these subtypes believe that people around them, even family members are plotting against them. They think they are under surveillance or being followed. They thought too that they are being made fun of, tricked, or treated unjustly by others around them. From grandiose to the bizarre, these types are unable to tell the difference between what is real and imagined.

Hallucinations are also most common to people with Schizophrenia. They involved the auditory and visual senses. On auditory hallucination, they hear voices that are not there. The voices tell him/her of their behaviour, or warn them of impending danger, or just plain talking among themselves. Sometimes these voices that they hear commands them to do something they would not do on their own. Visual hallucination is common too. They see people or objects that do not exist. The object's appearance could be frightening, distorted, or strange to them.


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