See what life feels like for someone who lives with this mental health disorder.

Schizophrenia is a complex mental health disorder. It affects millions of people worldwide. Many people do not fully understand the condition, leading to stigma and misconceptions. 

To help shed light on this condition and foster understanding, we dive into a unique resource – a video simulation. This video provides an immersive glimpse into the world of a person living with schizophrenia. 

What Is Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves. People with schizophrenia often seem to lose touch with reality. That can be distressing for them and those around them. Symptoms can include hallucinations, delusions, thought disorders, and movement disorders. 

Schizophrenia usually exhibits both ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ symptoms. ‘Positive’ symptoms refer to experiences added to one’s reality, such as seeing or hearing things others cannot. ‘Negative’ symptoms refer to the loss of abilities, such as decreased motivation, social withdrawal, and changes in everyday thoughts and feelings. 


What Causes Schizophrenia?

While the precise cause of schizophrenia remains a mystery, researchers believe it combines several factors, including genetics, brain chemistry and structure, and environmental influences. Each component plays a significant role in developing this complex mental health disorder.


Schizophrenia tends to run in families, suggesting a genetic component to the disorder. However, it’s important to note that not everyone with a family member with schizophrenia will develop the disorder. Researchers believe that several genes may contribute to the risk of schizophrenia, but no single gene causes the disorder by itself. A complex web of genetic and environmental conditions can increase the risk of developing schizophrenia.

Brain Chemistry and Structure

People with schizophrenia often have differences in brain chemistry and structure. Neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and glutamate, are chemicals that facilitate communication between brain cells. Imbalances in these chemicals, or the pathways they travel along, may contribute to the development of schizophrenia. 

Structural differences in the brain can also be a factor. Some studies using brain imaging technology have found subtle differences in the brain structure of individuals with schizophrenia compared to those without the disorder. These differences include reduced grey matter and abnormalities in specific brain regions’ functioning in cognition and emotion.

Environmental Factors

Environmental factors, particularly those experienced during critical periods of development, such as prenatal and early life, may also contribute to the risk of schizophrenia. These factors include complications during birth, malnutrition before birth, exposure to viruses, and psychosocial factors such as early childhood trauma or high-stress levels.

It’s important to remember that these factors alone do not cause schizophrenia. Instead, they may make a person more susceptible to developing the disorder, particularly if they have a genetic predisposition.

Early Warning Signs of Schizophrenia

Recognizing the early warning signs of schizophrenia can be crucial for seeking timely treatment, significantly improving the prognosis and quality of life for individuals with this condition. It’s important to note that these signs can vary among individuals and may be subtle initially. They can also resemble other conditions or circumstances, so their presence doesn’t necessarily mean a person has schizophrenia. However, if multiple signs persist or increase in intensity, seeking professional help is your best option.

Here are some early warning signs of the disorder to look out for:

Social Withdrawal

One of the first noticeable signs of schizophrenia can be a change in social behavior. Individuals may start to isolate themselves from friends and family, showing little interest in social activities they once enjoyed. They may seem emotionally distant or unresponsive in social situations.

Unusual Behavior

People who are developing schizophrenia may start to exhibit unusual behavior. These can include sudden personal hygiene changes, erratic speech or actions, or a lack of response to urgent situations. They may also lack motivation or initiative and spend much time doing nothing or engaging in purposeless activities.

Decrease in Academic or Work Performance

A significant drop in academic or work performance can be another early warning sign. It can manifest as a decline in grades for students or a decrease in productivity and quality of work for employed individuals. They may have trouble concentrating, following instructions, or making decisions, which can contribute to this decline.

Changes in Sleep Patterns

Individuals developing schizophrenia may experience changes in their sleep patterns. They may face difficulties falling or staying asleep or might sleep excessively. Sleep disruptions can also lead to fatigue and further impact daily functioning.


Unusual Sensitivity to Sensory Input

Some people may become unusually sensitive to light, noise, or other sensory input. They may also report “hearing” or “seeing” things that others don’t, which could be early signs of hallucinations, a common symptom of schizophrenia.

Changes in Emotions

Emotional changes can also indicate early schizophrenia. Individuals may exhibit inappropriate emotional responses or seem to have a flattened or blunted affect, showing less emotion than expected. They may also express feelings of suspicion or paranoia without apparent reason.

Cognitive Difficulties

Cognitive difficulties can also be early signs of schizophrenia. Individuals may have difficulty organizing their thoughts or connecting them logically. They may speak in a problematic way for others to follow or understand.

If you or someone you know is exhibiting these signs, seeking help from a mental health professional is imperative. Early detection and intervention usually lead to more effective treatment and a better long-term outcome. Remember, these signs do not definitively indicate schizophrenia but warrant a thorough evaluation.

Schizophrenia Video Simulation

A video simulation provides a glimpse into the world of those living with schizophrenia. This severe mental disorder can significantly impact a person’s thoughts, emotions, and actions, often causing them to lose touch with reality. The National Institute of Mental Health agrees – this can be deeply unsettling for the individual and their loved ones.

Symptoms of schizophrenia can range from hallucinations and delusions to disordered thinking and movement. The video simulation aims to provide those without the condition an opportunity to understand what living with these symptoms is like. Many viewers have described the experience as ‘terrifying,’ and there has been debate about the accuracy of the portrayal.

Rethink Mental Illness, a UK-based mental health charity, states that approximately 1 in 100 people are affected by schizophrenia. They define it as a mental disorder that alters one’s thinking processes. Schizophrenia is marked by both ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ symptoms, which do not refer to good or bad experiences. ‘Positive’ symptoms add to one’s reality, such as seeing or hearing things others cannot. ‘Negative’ symptoms, on the other hand, refer to the loss of abilities, such as decreased motivation, social withdrawal, and changes in typical thoughts and feelings.

In the video simulation, creators have attempted to mimic the ‘positive’ symptoms of schizophrenia. The simulation follows a man as he walks to a supermarket, with voices heard saying discouraging things like “this is pointless,” “even that kid knows you’re stupid,” and “don’t go in there.” As the man enters the store, the voices continue with comments like “nobody cares about you” and “the wine bottles are listening to you.” The simulation continues with a barrage of insults, paranoid and intrusive ideas, and alarming commands from various voices.

The man eventually leaves the supermarket, with the voices escalating in intensity. They urge him to harm himself, “run,” and “die.” Once home, the voices persist, saying, “you think you’re safe, but you’re not.” Other voices laugh and sing, “you’re not alone,” and “you can’t hide.” The simulation has topped over one million views and continues to help others better understand the disorder.

WARNING: This video is intense!

If you or someone you know is struggling with schizophrenia, you can reach out to the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline Monday to Friday, 10 am to 10 pm Eastern Time, at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or text ‘Helpline’ to 62640.

Final Thoughts on Gaining More Insight into Schizophrenia

Understanding schizophrenia is not an easy task. It’s a complex mental health disorder that affects each person differently. However, resources like the discussed video simulation can provide valuable insights and foster empathy and understanding. It’s important to remember that while simulations can offer a glimpse into the experiences of those living with schizophrenia, they cannot fully capture the breadth and depth of the condition. 

Each person’s experience with schizophrenia is unique, influenced by many factors, including their circumstances, support systems, and treatment plans. As we continue to learn more about schizophrenia, it’s crucial to approach the topic with an open mind, empathy, and a commitment to understanding. 

Remember, if you or someone you know is struggling with schizophrenia, help is available. Contact mental health professionals or your primary care physician for a referral. You’re not alone; resources and support systems are ready to assist.