Be warned: this video will probably make you feel uncomfortable, even after you've stopped watching it. It might be hard to believe that someone could simulate the experience of a mental disorder in a six-minute online video, but schizophrenia inducing videos aim to do just that.
What is schizophrenia like? Schizophrenia videos answer the question in a direct, and surreal, way: by forcing people to experience what it's like living with the disorder. It causes viewers to become disoriented, anxious, and sometimes even paranoid. Imagine trying to go about your everyday life while a stranger constantly berates you from inside your own skull.
Schizophrenia is a condition to which people are genetically predisposed. Just 1% of people without family history are diagnosed with it; meanwhile, that rate jumps to 13% for those with at least one parent diagnosed with the disease. It's also often misunderstood, and these videos help people understand what it's like for individuals living with the disorder. If nothing else, they'll definitely inspire empathy.
Virtual Reality Gives Doctors Insight Into What Their Patients Are Experiencing
"A Day In The Life Of," the video included above, was created by pharmaceutical manufacturer Janssen. So was a software called Mindscape, and both are designed to give doctors a sense of what their patients with schizophrenia might be going through.
Mindscape is a completely immersive virtual reality experience. Users wear a headset, and are instructed to attend a job interview while they are bombarded with voices berating and distracting them. You experience first-hand what it's like to struggle to focus through the cacophony of voices in their ears in a real-world setting.
Auditory Tracks Can Mimic A Schizophrenic EpisodeVideo: YouTube
As an alternative to virtual reality, you can try audio tracks that mimic the experience of a psychotic episode due to schizophrenia. Play a video like this through your headphones, and then head to the train station, the corner store to buy a paper, or maybe even try to get some work done. Imagine if this was your reality every day, and you couldn't simply take out the earbuds and stop the track. And remember, this is only a small glimpse into one aspect of a complex disorder.
People With Schizophrenia Aren't Fooled By Optical Illusions
In the video, you'll see an empty mask spinning around. Notice that when the mask turns 180 degrees, it most likely looks convex to you, as if it's facing forwards again. That's how most people see it, because their brains naturally unite what they actually see with what they expect to see. Human faces protrude out, so naturally the mask must be protruding out.
However, people with schizophrenia nearly always see the mask as it actually appears: facing in. Researchers theorize this comes from an imbalance in their brains that impacts their ability to process visual cues.
Anderson Cooper Tried A Simulation
In this clip, Anderson Cooper listens to an audio track of voices through ear buds as he tries to perform would-be simple tasks, including answering questions, folding an origami boat, and buying a newspaper.
The voices escalate throughout the experiment, and Cooper admits he has to resist the urge to shout back at the voices. The usually composed on-air personality is clearly flustered and frustrated by the experiment, a pretty good indicator of how difficult living with schizophrenia must be.