Schizophrenia is now widely believed to be due to a chemical imbalance in the brain, and powerful psychoactive drugs are used to control it.
But some treatments may be worse than the disease. Antipsychotic drugs such as haloperidol and thioridazine have been found to affect the heart, causing severe heartbeat irregularities and even cardiac arrest.
In fact, life expectancy for schizophrenics has been decreasing as more patients are treated with drugs. Doctors have been warned to go easy on the dosages so as not to end up with a split heart in place of a split personality (BMJ, 2002; 323: 1070-2).