Montgomery Clift has been described as a quirky and imaginative individual. The very same symptoms that point to this quirky personality may also have pointed to Montgomery Clift being a victim of hebephrenic schizophrenia. This is a type of schizoid personality that is characterized by an eventual loss of touch with reality and with behavior that is distorted and disorganized.
Hebephrenic schizoid personalities often look more like Jack Nicholson than Montgomery Clift. A self-satisfied smile may play upon the lips of the hebephrenic. He or she may laugh at times where such a response is completely at odds with the appropriateness. Another symptom of hebephrenic personality disorder is the straining of the face into peculiar and even bizarre expressions. This incoherence of response and facial tics is connected with speech patterns and delusions that seem to make no sense to the onlooker. It would not be unusual for a person diagnosed with hebephrenic schizophrenia to insist that someone has stolen his foot. Facial grimaces may accompany this clearly inaccurate insistence.
Montgomery Clift would sometimes get on the floor and eat food and although his diagnosis of hebephrenic schizophrenia did not include this aspect, extreme cases of the disorder can have people believing that they have turned into an animal. Most of the time this animal is just a simple canine or feline, but it could be almost anything.
Short-lived hallucinations are part and parcel of hebephrenic schizophrenia. Voices that can only be heard the sufferer may be painting a portrait of the individual that is vile as that portrait hanging in Dorian Gray’s attic. (Or Raquel Welch’s attic; seriously, did she make a deal with the devil or what? Nobody should look like they’re 40 when they’re 70. Nobody.) The vile description being targeted by a voice unheard by anyone but the hebephrenic schizoid can be delivered in utterly vulgar language and the vulgarity can then be spewed forth in a completely in appropriate way. Although Clerks filmmaker Kevin Smith insists that the profanity of his movies is a mirror of the reality of those around him, most of us are confronted with vulgar profanity only in the movies or during times of high stress. The hebephrenic schizoid may indulge in a single profanity-laden sentence that is as out of place as it would be in a Merchant-Ivory production.
Ultimately, without treatment, the hebephrenic schizoid de-evolves into a state in which they feel as little shame as those people who orbit through the world of Kevin Smith. Monty Clift’s eating of food from the floor may be exhibited in your hebephrenic friend’s taking a dump on the floor and then smearing it on the wall. Eating a meal with a hebephrenic personality is often an ordeal: the eating may be ravenous and it may end up looking as though a food fight has taken place.
Adolescence is the usual starting point for hebephrenic schizophrenia, but symptoms may not show up until the person is in their mid-twenties. Most hebephrenics are brooding loners who may be compulsively concerned with the most trivial of items. Over time the hebephrenic regresses fully into childlike behavior, become secretive well past the point of just being private and ultimately abandons any desire to overcome the problem.
Montgomery Clift by Patricia Bosworth