Schizophrenia Patient or Spiritually Advanced Personality? A Qualitative Case Analysis
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Many aspects of spiritual experience are similar in form and content to symptoms of psychosis. Both spiritually advanced people and patients suffering from psychopathology experience alterations in their sense of ‘self.’ Psychotic experiences originate from derangement of the personality, whereas spiritual experiences involve systematic thinning out of the selfish ego, allowing individual consciousness to merge into universal consciousness. Documented instances and case studies suggest possible confusion between the spiritually advanced and schizophrenia patients. Clinical practice contains no clear guidelines on how to distinguish them. Here we use a case presentation to help tabulate clinically useful points distinguishing spiritually advanced persons from schizophrenia patients. A 34-year-old unmarried male reported to our clinic with four main complaints: lack of sense of self since childhood; repeated thoughts questioning whether he existed or not; social withdrawal; and inability to continue in any occupation. Qualitative case analysis and discussions using descriptions from ancient texts and modern psychology led to the diagnosis of schizophrenia rather than spiritual advancement.
KeywordsSpirituality Sense of self Yoga Mental illness Psychopathology Schizophrenia
Conflict of interest
We hereby declare that there are no conflicts of interest in submitting this manuscript.
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