In US English, "Schizoid" is considered a derogatory term, while "patient/person with Schizoid Personality Disorder" is the "politically correct" term (and more accurate).

For this reason I wanted to be sure, is calling someone "Schizophrenic" (assuming the diagnosis is correct) considered offensive in any way? Is is more "correct" to use the full "patient/person with schizophrenia"?

  • $\begingroup$ What I'm trying to ask is, would my use of the word in the question title of "How common are visual hallucinations in Schizophrenics?" offend anyone? Or would calling someone "a Schizophrenic" be incorrect? $\endgroup$
    – IQAndreas
    Jul 31, 2014 at 19:24
  • $\begingroup$ This is the sort of possible issue discussed recently in meta $\endgroup$ Aug 6, 2021 at 13:16

2 Answers 2


You never know what's gonna offend someone...That being said, "hallucinations in people with schizophrenia" does seem the safer option, but "schizophrenics" (not capitalized) is used plenty often. Here's an interesting Google result:

Schizophrenics Anonymous (SA) is a self-help group for persons who have schizophrenia or a schizophrenia-related illness.

I don't see them using "schizophrenics" outside of the title though, which further supports the use of "persons / people with schizophrenia". This follows a general guideline: one should avoid defining people by their afflictions and emphasize their personhood foremost. It might seem trivial with occasional use, but conflating a condition with an object category (person) might affect perception of those people, including their self-perceptions / identities, since these are largely matters of emphasis already.
(This is armchair theorizing without references...or any arms on the chair...Please edit or comment with any support or disagreement.)


In general, help groups and health authorities recommend avoiding labels such as "epileptics, schizophrenics, etc." and suggest "people with epilepsy/schizocphrenia, etc." "John is epileptic" can have negative connotations and also labels a person as being different, whereas "John has epilepsy" can be taken as John is a person (first and foremost) who happens to have epilepsy. He is not defined by his illness. However, in a clinical or scientific context, for example in a study report, I don't believe this is important; so it depends on the readership.

  • $\begingroup$ Hi Bob. Welcome at CogSci and thank you for your answer. At CogSci, we do expect that answers are based on facts, and expect (scientific) references for statements that are made. This way we can verify whether something is true and do some further investigations to learn more. Do you have any references that may back up your statements? $\endgroup$ Apr 20, 2017 at 11:53

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