I can’t tell you how many times and from some of the most reputable authors and sources I see the word schizophrenia misused. Over and over I read and hear people use the term schizophrenia or schizophrenic when they mean multiple personality disorder. The most recent comes from Thom Rainer in Simple Church, “When ministry philosophies collide, schizophrenia happens. The church is unsure of who she is…” (p.21). “Schizophrenia happens”? You mean church members start hearing voices and get delusional? He is trying to say a ministry can result in trying to act like more than one person or have so many dimensions that it gets stymied. I doubt this post will do any good to correct this issue but I think it is important to bring up even if it just breaks a few dozen people of this habit.
The DSM-IV defines schizophrenia as, “a disturbance that lasts for at least 6 months and includes at least a month of active-phase symptoms (that is, two [or more] of the following: delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech, grossly disorganized or catatonic behavior, negative symptoms.”
This is confused by many people with Multiple personality disorder/dissociative identity disorder, “The presence of two more more distinct identities or personality states (each with its own relatively enduring pattern of perceiving, relating to, and thinking about the environment and self).”
It is time to drop this altogether. When you say something is schizophrenic you are saying it is characterized by delusions and hallucinations (and possibly paranoia depending on the subtype). If you are trying to say something gets confusing or trying to take on too many roles at once, just use another term or avoid this altogether.