Schizophrenia is a chronic, severe and disabling thought disorder. It involves a break with reality, delusions and hallucinations, and extreme emotional and social dysregulation. Jodi Arias does not have schizophrenia. An extensive review of news reports reveals no evidence that she demonstrated any symptoms of schizophrenia. Ever. She has never had a break from reality. It is her claim that she killed her ex-lover in self-defense. In earlier versions of her story, she deliberately attempted to deceive the police and cover up the murder. She was fully aware of what she was doing. and has admitted on stand that she lied. In her words, she lied to “everyone.”
What Disorders Might She Have?
Several possible disorders she may have include narcissistic, histrionic and antisocial personality disorders or a combination thereof. Considering the brutality of her crime and her behavior, those are the most likely possibilities.
One of the 48 Hours interviews is where you’d really see the histrionic nature of her demeanor and behavior. She speaks about her relationship with Travis as though it is straight out of a romance novel. It is quite remarkable. She is also able to lie with a sincerity that few people could.
Why Might People Think She Has Schizophrenia?
I wonder if people think Jodi Arias has schizophrenia because they associate this disorder with violence. Unfortunately, a stigma about schizophrenia exists in our culture. People are often frightened of people with schizophrenia. I can recall working with a client who had schizophrenia but who adamantly denied the fact that she had the disorder. When asked the question “what is so wrong with having schizophrenia?” she answered ” I don’t want people to think that I am a murderer. “
When asked where she got the idea that people with schizophrenia are murderers, she explained that she saw an episode of Law and Order in which an individual with schizophrenia had murdered someone.
Stigma was not the only reason why she denied the fact that she had schizophrenia; it’s much more complicated than that but in her mind, after seeing that episode of Law and Order, she equated murder with schizophrenia. I suspect that others have made the same link.