Narrator: This is Science Today. One of the most common misnomers about schizophrenia, a severe mental illness, is that it's associated with multiple personality. University of California, Berkeley anthropologist Karen Schmidt says the psychosis is almost never associated with split personality.
Schmidt: I think where that comes from is the word schism ..which means split and the word schizophrenia comes from a Swiss psychiatrist who made that word up to describe the illness and he was referring to a split between the person's consciousness and reality.
Narrator: Schmidt, who studied the cross-cultural aspects of schizophrenia says compared to multiple personality disorder, it's actually pretty common.
Schmidt: The rate is about one in a hundred in the United States and in many other places as well. And schizophrenia has a number of features, it's a confusing illness because we don't know exactly what causes it and we can't treat it all the time and it's a very frustrating illness.
Narrator: Schizophrenia is marked by hallucinations, hearing voices and delusions and is currently treated with drugs and psychotherapy. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.