Jodi Arias Does Not Have Schizophrenia

sz questionsI have noticed that many people have landed on my website by searching a variation of this phrase/question: “Is Jodi Arias schizophrenic?”

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.

5 thoughts on “Jodi Arias Does Not Have Schizophrenia

  1. Very interesting site. Glad to come across it. We share many interests.

    I think that a lot of the public doesn’t really understand clearly the distinctions between various disorders that they have heard about in relation to crime or violence in the news. The words get muddled together. Psychopathy, sociopathy, narcissistic personality disorder, schizophrenia and so on all sort of blend into an amalgamation associated with darkness and unpredictability and fear.

    My hope is to contribute to helping the public become more educated on the various conditions associated with aggression, violence and harm. Just as most people know about other conditions affecting public health, like AIDS, they need to know about these conditions, especially the ones that reduce empathy and conscience because their influence is greater than most people realize.

    • I appreciate you taking the time to comment. Your site looks interesting, too.

      I think you are correct about the confusion about the various disorders. It not immersed in the subject, perhaps the confusion is understandable. It would be great to get a point in time in which people understood these conditions much better; they impact many aspects of humanity. If we understood them better, I imagine that we’d more effectively control or prevent acts of violence, aggression and harm.

      I look forward to reading more of your site.

      Dr. KR

  2. Having worked in the field of mental health for several years, it never ceases to baffle me how many people really don’t understand the difference between thought disorders and personality disorders. Perhaps it is because her crime was so heinous to the general public that we want to believe that there is something medically wrong with a person who commits an act like Jodi did. The general public wants an explanation and one that includes more than the simple fact that Jodi is a “bad” person. It is uncommon that we see a female as a true psychopath, but they do exist, and we are seeing it in Jodi Arias. She has a severe cluster B personality disorder. What does surprise me is that other than getting smacked a few times by her parents, and again these are her claims, there is not the psychosocial history that one might expect to find in severe personality disorder, such as extreme childhood sexual abuse or other kind of significant life threatening trauma. I am not buying the PTSD business with her either. She just does not fit the criteria, and I dont think the jury is buying it either.

    Jodi was able to kill Travis with such brutality because she has no conscience. No empathy for others. Travis’ rejection of her was an assault to her very fragile ego and sense of self and she responded with intense rage and took him out. He was no longer a source to feed her narcissism, and therefore no longer needed.

    Despite knowing that she is a bad person, and as jaded as I am, I have to admit that her sending his grandmother flowers shocked even me. How disgusting. In Jodi’s mind, she is trying to act innocent, and likely took an inventory of what she thought a person who was grieving would do, and did her best to model this. We are horrified that a murderer sent a grieving grandmother flowers because most people can put themselves in her situation and imagine the pain this caused. Not our callous Jodi. This was all about covering up her tracks.

    • Julie, what a great analysis. I completely and totally agree. I could not have said it better myself. I appreciate you taking the time to write and share you knowledge with others. I think most people would agree with your assessement of JA. It is spot on.
      Dr. KR

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