Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Schizophrenia - Faking it or Real?

I know sz is an illness that is very hard to overcome/cope. I know it’s real, but I think people can take advantage of it and not really have sz. Is this possible?

Anything is possible… but I think the much more common issue that we see here is that people don’t understand how severe a problem that schizophrenia is. Schizophrenia is the MOST SERIOUS / MOST DEVASTATING mental illness that exists. And the drugs that treat it are very far from perfect (though things are looking better all the time).

If the person is diagnosed with schizophrenia - the likely impact is huge. Even if they get the delusions and voices under control - people generally still suffer from major negative symptoms (lack of motivation, inability to concentrate, difficulty with memory, etc.).

Suicide is sadly a very common outcome (something like 10% of people with schizophrenia).

With good treatment and therapy - and early psychosis intervention - the future is looking better than it ever has - but its still a really difficult illness to deal with.


things for sz’s has been the same for 1000’s of years

I feel thankful to live in a country and time where I am not burned at a pyre or locked in a dungeon. It might have been nice to have been a medicine man or shaman in pre-industrial modern times though. :smile:

Yup those negative symptoms are tough to deal with. Also the 1 in 10 of us commit suicide statistic, it is definitely tough some days. Sometimes I feel like I don’t belong, or am a bane upon humanity.

Anyway, as for faking it, it may have happened once or twice, but I doubt it is common. I’d imagine if they were faking, the medicine would have some adverse effect on them, there’s a reason why medications are prescribed, carefully adjusted for schizophrenics and not for people without this cognitive disability. Besides the stigma is tough. The news tends to portray us all as a danger to society.

I think that if a person was faking he would regret it because he would be forced to take anti-psychotic medications, which have a number of unpleasant side effects. I thought I didn’t have sz for a while, but after over twenty mental health commitments I decided to follow the program. Some of those commitments I fought in court.

You escaped being locked in a dungeon by about 50 years only.

“I know it’s real, but I think people can take advantage of it and not really have sz.”

It’s certainly a valid question to ask. I still sometimes wonder if my father (diagnosed over 50 years ago) takes advantage of me sometimes because of his diagnosis. I feel that way because there are times when he can hold it together and be happy/engaged around other people, but not around me. Similarly, he will verbally abuse me whilst being charming to his friends. That’s been the case for decades. Sometimes too, I wonder if he’s really capable of doing more for himself than he lets on. I know he couldn’t drive or maintain steady employment, but by the end, he was relying on my mother just to make him a sandwich. I KNOW he’s capable of doing that.

As far as faking the actual illness, I think that would be very difficult, if not impossible over the long haul. I’m only saying that sometimes, those who suffer from sz can appear to be more cognicent at times than they let on. At least from my personal experience.

I still sometimes wonder if I’m just faking it.
But my mom, my social worker, doctor, etc. all say it’s real.
But I still sometimes doubt it.
I used to be a lazy kid, and wanted to skip school.
I still remember wanting to have a mental illness to be officially allowed to stay home while everyone’s at school.

10 year later, I got schizophrenia.

Yes, they still hang us in chains and prod us with red hot pokers to drive the evil spirits out.

d00d, give your head a shake.


Yeah now I just say I’m experiencing negative symptoms whenever I feel lazy. I try not to indulge in it though, it feels good to get things done.

Yeah, maybe schizophrenia was already happening when I was a “lazy” kid.

I don’t know who I am, so acting plays a key part in my mind. Just look at all the actors that are good looking and act for a living and what do we do besides getting more and more lessons in how good we can put on an act to get what we want. We can be such good actors that we can even fool ourselves into believing something to be true. Man is corrupt and some of us fake illnesses just so we don’t have to work. There are way too many needy, gimme, wanty people for our system to handle.

Are the side effects worse for a person who takes antipsychotics but clinically doesn’t need them? If so wouldn’t those side effects off set any gains from long term faking and make it unlikely that someone would want to/be able to fake it for long ?

I’ve been accused of faking illness before, by my in laws. They don’t understand when i’m stressed the voices get worse. I personally feel the side effects of medicine would make a person not want to fake it for long, especially the lack of libido, most normal people want a healthy sexual relationship.

When I read the topic header, “Faking it or Real”…

I thought this thread would be a discussion about the pros and cons of breast implants!

(rim shot)

If you recover smoothly then you start to question if you really have the illness or if its something more minor. It’s sort of a dangerous spot to be in. Nothing is worse than a real sz being in denial and thinking he is fine, but there is also something wrong with someone who doesnt have the illness playing along like he does.

They’re just labels, I think if someone gets diagnosed then they have the illness whether they like it or not. Then its a failure of the professionals and not the individual. People shouldn’t have to sit and worry what word best describes their condition.

I know shit’s still off with me, but it seems to be getting better. Psychosis is kind of a mystery. All of evidence out there supporting you have to have some kind of predisposition for these things to happen.

I feel as though my son is headed towards another stay. He gets out, becomes isolated, and slips even further. Trying to get him to take his meds causes a trigger, then he becomes very delusional (all at night), threatens to kill himself and call 911, then at around 1am, when I feel safe that he’s asleep, or very tired, I go to sleep. Then we wake up and do it all over again. Some days, I feel hope, like yesterday, and then something gets triggered and he slips away. He does snap out of it when he is around others, but when it’s just me, he lets the illness take over. I’m numb anymore

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Yup everhopeful, that’s why i’m thankful. :thumbsup:

bananatto brings up a good point. It is something I do not mention often as I feel most psychotropic medications would be a bit too strong for a developing mind. I would not be surprised if in the future it becomes more common to treat mental illness in youths. Sadly, I think some future generations will miss out on a happy childhood because of it.

Soitgoes, from personal experience and statistics I would say I had a predisposition for developing schizophrenia. It runs in my family, an uncle, three cousins, two of my grandmother’s sisters had it in some form or another. I have a large family and so there are a few others who suffer from other things such as anxiety, bipolar disorder, and/or depression. Which brings me to my next point, 1 in 4 people suffer from a mental illness. Not all of the believe that and few talk about it. In my personal opinion, it would help if someday there was more education on mental illnesses. Having a mental illness does not make you a bad person.

Finally, Holly67, statistics indicate that after being diagnosed, the first 5 or so years are the most difficult (this is important though I do not wish to upset you, suicide is much more likely in the first ten years after diagnosis). This is true for me personally. I cannot say it gets easier but rather that over time I have learned to deal with it more effectively. I practice patience. If I feel a little irritable, or upset, I make a mental note to listen carefully and be mindful of other people’s feelings specifically those who surround us or care about us. They do not always know I am irritable or upset and it is usually not their fault. There are things I do not agree with and/or do not like to hear (reality in terms of modern societal standards [Note: tinge of humor at a predicament that seems to come with the illness] e.g. often that I am not doing much with my life) but I know I should not grow angry, instead I should listen especially if it is coming from someone who cares about me and try to improve my situation. With that being said, I feel it is just part of the illness that is extremely difficult to explain. I have dreams and hopes of getting an education, starting a career, maintaining a job, someday having a house and all that good stuff. It is not that I don’t want to do those things, only that I find it extremely difficult to start and even more so to continue, in part because of the symptoms caused by the illness (it’s like i’m the ultimate procrastinator but I rarely get things done, a more apt word would be lazy though it’s not that I want to be. Being in public places is very difficult for me. It wasn’t always so… My advice is do not expect your some to clean up, get a job, or be better mentally from one day to the next. Instead, focus on small improvements and whenever you see one, encourage him without subconsciously talking to him like there is something wrong with him. Instead, try to speak to him like you would a young adult. Compliment him on whatever you feel is an improvement. Once again, remember that if you maintain a positive attitude, improvement is more likely. I have much respect for you because you care deeply about your son and wish to help him in whichever way possible.


Good advice. Thank you. My husband came home from a trip today (his stepdad), and said “Go get some rest, I’m taking over.” The words were music to my ears. The slacklined in the backyard and played badmitton. My son needed that so badly. I’m so busy taking him to appointments, shopping for food, cleaning up after him, and having arguments about medicine that we never have any fun. We laugh sometimes but not much anymore. I did learn something today, though. He doesn’t brush his teeth because he thinks he’s going to brush away his enamel and when I give him his meds, he thinks I’m giving him something else. The doc told me to hide pills so I give them one at a time but since he doesn’t see the bottle, he’s not sure what I’m giving him. It makes sense. I need to listen more carefully. So much to learn. The knowledge I gain from other’s experiences on this forum is, to me, more valuable then all three of our docs put together, really.

Many others have suggested a change in medication might help. I’m inclined to agree with that. If you are having trouble making sure he is compliant with taking meds daily perhaps it would be good to ask about an alternative such as an injection form of medicine. They are recognized as long acting and often more effective. A doctor of internal medicine once explained it like this to me… Taking a pill form can be like a wave, up and down depending on the different hours taken or a missed dosage. The injection is more like a steady calm water. My respects to those who are able to take medication in pill form on a schedule. The other thing about the injection is that it is usually administered by a psychiatrist. This may help your son’s reluctance and slight paranoia when it comes to the taking the medication. It would be a good idea of you to at least get some information on an injectable soluble solution. Speaking from personal experience I would not recommend haldol. I would recommend invega sustenna, risperdal consta, or prolixin in order from most helpful to fair in my experiences. However, I am not a mental health professional. Simply put it would not hurt to get information on these medications.