Schizophrenia in Film…

What are your first thoughts when you think of schizophrenia?

  • Murderers?
  • Violence?
  • Padded white cells?

Schizophrenia has been depicted in many films over the years, but I’m going to mention just two modern ones that I think you’re more likely to of seen. First Black Swan… Black-Swan-Art-black-swan-20819731-668-945This although a great film highlights my point precisely, Nina as a lovely, successful young woman until the ‘illness’ kicks in; turning her into a violent, uncontrollable person who does not have it together. I’m not about to sit here and tell you that this is complicate rubbish, but it is heavily exaggerated. When you experience first onset you do lose control a bit.. But personally when mine got worse, I internalised. To the outside world it just seemed as if I was struggling with stress constantly, I wasn’t violent, I didn’t stand around screaming at people. And this isn’t just me, its a form of schizophrenia- albeit rare. The violence that are shown in films from schizophrenics does happen but is more often due to not knowing how to react in social situations rather than random outbursts. We are also a lot more likely to harm ourselves than any one else.

The second film I’m going to talk about is Leo Dicaprio’s ‘Shutter Island’. ShutterislandposterOnce again this is an amazing thriller movie, but depicts schizophrenia as again being violent murders of their own loved ones. Blaming others for their own actions. Schizophrenia is a condition that involves hallucinations and delusions, so as far as creating a story to explain a horrible event  so that it is easier to deal with is a trait that can occur with the condition, just of course it is exaggerated for the screen.

Just a few statistics to help explain the truth…. Studies have shown that only 1 in every 10,000 people that are effected my the illness will ever commit a homicide and only 6.48% of homicide offenders are every diagnosed with schizophrenia. That a really small percentage when you think of the 94% that don’t have any trace of the illness.

So when watching films with a schizophrenic portrayal keep in mind the truth of it. Most of what is shown is done purely for effect and isn’t realistic or a true representation.

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