8 doctors weighed in:
If a teenager says they have an imaginary friend, could this be a sign of schizophrenia or something?
8 doctors weighed in

Dr. Glen Elliott
Pediatrics - Psychiatry
5 doctors agree
In brief: It is unusual
Imaginary friends are a common phenomenon in children, up to about age 5-6.
Most teens have a clear sense of "normal" behavior and would not likely have an imaginary friend. Let alone tell others. It the teen is doing well otherwise, probably no need for concern; but, it wouldn't hurt to ask what purpose the "friend" serves. And, if the teen is avoiding real friends, help might be needed.

In brief: It is unusual
Imaginary friends are a common phenomenon in children, up to about age 5-6.
Most teens have a clear sense of "normal" behavior and would not likely have an imaginary friend. Let alone tell others. It the teen is doing well otherwise, probably no need for concern; but, it wouldn't hurt to ask what purpose the "friend" serves. And, if the teen is avoiding real friends, help might be needed.
Dr. Glen Elliott
Dr. Glen Elliott
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Dr. Alfredo Soto
Psychiatry
3 doctors agree
In brief: No
If someone tells you they have an imaginary friend, then the person knows that the friend is imaginary.
True hallucinations and delusions are very real to the person who is experiencing them.

In brief: No
If someone tells you they have an imaginary friend, then the person knows that the friend is imaginary.
True hallucinations and delusions are very real to the person who is experiencing them.
Dr. Alfredo Soto
Dr. Alfredo Soto
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Dr. William Holmes
Pediatrics - Psychiatry
1 doctor agrees
In brief: Not Likely
An imaginary friend is not all that unusual.
Problems such as schizophrenia usually involve a lack of awareness that such friends are not real.

In brief: Not Likely
An imaginary friend is not all that unusual.
Problems such as schizophrenia usually involve a lack of awareness that such friends are not real.
Dr. William Holmes
Dr. William Holmes
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