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Are There Advantages to Madness? Part One: Psychosis

Updated on May 29, 2008

Is the "Madness" of Psychosis Ever Beneficial?

by Helen Borel, PhD

The state of being "mad" can be interpreted as referring to being "crazy" or being "angry." (I will discuss anger* and its possible advantages after spotlighting, here, psychotic conditions which are "madness" itself.)

The Psychotic State

There are zero benefits to being crazy. Otherwise known psychiatrically as psychosis, and commonly as insanity, being crazy is hardly an envious state to be lost in. It is ALWAYS a state of intense suffering for the victim of it. Not to mention the psychotic person's long-suffering loved ones who are often at a loss as their "mad" relative progressively descends into a state of delusion and/or hallucinations, decreasing self-care, poor nutrition, poor sleep, and ultimate hospitalization.

Generally, the psychotic person is beleaguered from all sides by humanly insurmountable hurdles - these emanating from the patient's mind and disordered brain. Because usually, when we refer to psychosis, we are talking about the tragic and devastating illness called schizophrenia. The only caveat is the mania phase of manic-depression (a.k.a. bipolar disorder) which is characterized by intense highs with racing thoughts and often out-of-control floridly flamboyant behaviors (e.g., buying sprees, drinking binges, dangerous behaviors in public, speed-driving, uninhibited actions that may get the person arrested) or sometimes injurious behavior to self or others.

Secondary Psychoses

Other neurobiological, cerebral and systemic bodily conditions and illnesses can also produce psychotic symptoms. These include deleria due to alcohol-withdrawal and febrile infections. And "insane" thoughts and actions can be present in dementia, Alzheimer's, brain tumors, brain trauma, poisoning, etc. But the resulting "crazy" communications and "crazy" behaviors are secondary to such primary illnesses.

Meaning that some of these "crazinesses" will disappear when the primary illness is properly diagnosed and appropriately treated.

For example, some brain tumors are completely removable, thus returning thought processes and actions to normal; while antibiotic-treated infections can reduce fevers, thereby returning the brain to normal temperature and temperament.

So, because many secondary psychoses are either cured or ameliorated by treatments from the appropriate medical specialists, these categories are not generally meant when we speak of psychosis itself.

*What Makes Schizophrenia a Psychosis?

Hallucinations, auditory or visual, and sometimes paranoia used to plague patients suffering from schizophrenia and lifetime institutionalization in a psychiatric hospital was essential, before the advent of antipsychotic drugs.

Such confinement was necessary to protect the schizophrenic from danger and ill physical health as the brain disorder grew gradually worse, as mental symptoms and distress increased, as self-care disappeared, as the schizophrenia progressively robbed the once-healthy young adult of normal mental processes and - to the ordinary observer, as bizarre behavior was superimposed on this unrelenting schizophrenic deterioration.

Today, Many Schizophrenics Can Live Productively in the Community

Fortunately, for several years now...due to the miracle of antipsychotic medications - once heralded by Squibb's Prolixin(R) (fluphenazine) - now much mitigated by several choices of "new-generation antipsychotics" such as Eli Lilly's Zyprexa(R) (olanzapine), Pfizer's Geodon(R) (ziprasidone), and Janssen's Invega(R) (paliperidone), many schizophrenics can live their lives outside of hospitals within the wider world community, often or somewhat free of the "voices" and other symptoms that once plagued them so disablingly. Many are able to hold jobs. Others, no longer hospitalized, but still needing some support such as psychotherapy and social services in order to successfully remain in the community.

However, to reiterate, being "mad" in the sense of being schizophrenic, holds no advantage whatsoever!

What about the "Madness" of Anger?

There are, however, both advantages and disadvantages to the experience of anger. In other words, feeling and being "mad." These I will discuss in my companion article "Is the 'Madness' of Anger Ever Beneficial?" You can access it at:

To contact me directly for information about any and all emotional health issues and psychotherapy, write to:

Also, do check out my other mental health and psychotherapy articles at:


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    • profile image

      Allana 5 years ago

      The person writing this article has obviously never had a psychosis.

    • profile image

      The typical mad guy with psychoses 6 years ago

      im mad im crazy. they all eventually see it. but im happy. i can live with being a psycho. all my relationships end badly coz no one wants to marry a psycho. i mean its not like im gonna kill her. its just that im sick. but u think girls will understand. god help mayb i have to find pschotic girlfriend then id be ok.........

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      I have two brothers both schizophrenics for more than 20 years. One paranoia/ schizo. They sometimes fight eachother, as they both live with my mom. Its very stressful for my aged mom. Heartbreaking, and a nightmare we all share. But this was the card we were dealt with. We have all been tormented equally. It is not a benefit in any way. Not when emt's patch them up and nypd cuff them and haul them off to pych wards, where they are treated as sub humans. Dangers to society and themselves. I pray for an end and cure to mental illness, like others do for cancer.

    • Shirley Anderson profile image

      Shirley Anderson 9 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I've only met one person in my life who was schizophrenic. He was a sweetheart, but it was obvious he had problems. He didn't do so well out on his own in the community, unfortunately. The voices told him to stop taking his meds, and it ended very badly.

      As far as I could tell, there was no fun or benefit in being mad for him. I feel badly for anyone suffering from the malady, and for their loved ones.

      Great article, Helen. Thx!

    • dutch84 profile image

      dutch84 9 years ago

      There are ancient cultures that saw madness as a gift from God.

      Our culture is not as "accepting".

      Speaking of madness, did you see the video of the guy who goes crazy in a Russian office environment?

      Advantages to madness in this day and age would be:

      1. Not having to go to work

      2. Getting lots of special attention

      3. Maybe getting money for being disabled (I don't know, I haven't researched it. don't know if it's true.)

      4. You don't have to go to jail if you murder somebody. You just have to go to therapy or a psychiatrist or something.

    • crashcromwell profile image

      crashcromwell 9 years ago from Florida

      Hi Helen: Execellent article on a difficult subject. I'll be checking out more of your pages. Thanks for your kind words at my site. I'm pleased to have you in my fanclub, and I'll be pleased to reciprocate!

      Jim Henry