As you know, Lizzie has psychological issues. She was befriending zombies, feeding zombies and finally she killed her sister (and was going to kill Judith also). And then Carol killed her.

  • So what was wrong with her?

  • Did she develop some kind of "zombiphilia"?

  • Is it also related with Carol's training in the past?

Related question: She was also shooting zombies sometimes, what was triggering that?

  • I doubt it's zombiphilia, because her behavior (like the murder of small animals) goes beyond that. Probably they hint at the stereotypical beginnings of a psychopath or serial killer.
    – Andres F.
    Apr 2, 2014 at 21:33
  • What's wrong with her now? She has a hole in her head because Carol made her look at the flowers, then blew her brains out. Silly question. :)
    – Wad Cheber
    Dec 31, 2015 at 22:09

5 Answers 5


She seems to suffer from some form of mental instability. It's unclear what she suffers from, but she seems to be psychotic thinking that the walkers are still people and claiming that she can hear them.

There is a bunch of evidence of this on the Walking Dead Wikia.

Lizzie Samuels - Walking Dead Wikia

  • Lizzie is shown to have mental instability and adjustment issues:
  • She names the walkers at the fence, insisting they are still people.
  • She feeds live rats to walkers. The feeder was unknown for a long time, but Tyreese confirmed that Lizzie confessed to it.
  • She rubbed her foot around in Glenn's blood as Hershel was trying to save him.
  • She kills and mutilates helpless rabbits (and other animals) without eating them.
  • She seemingly tried to suffocate Judith by blocking her mouth and nose as she cried.
  • She also tried to kill Judith again shortly after Mika's death, but Carol and Tyreese arrive in time to stop her.
  • She admits to Carol that she didn't mean to shoot Alisha in the head because she wanted her to be able to come back as a walker.
  • She allows a walker to chase her and flies into a rage when Carol kills it. She insists she was playing with it and that it wouldn't
    hurt her because it just wanted a friend.
  • She admits to her sister that she can 'hear them' while looking at an incapacitated walker, explaining why she understands them. (She then almost allows herself to be bitten to 'change'.)
  • She murders her sister Mika to show Carol and Tyreese that when she comes back she will be the same, similar to when Ben murdered Billy
    in Volume 11 of the comic series for the same reason.
  • After murdering her sister, she assumes that the reason Carol wanted to talk to her in private is because she is mad that Lizzie pointed a gun at her, instead of because she murdered her own sister and was going to do the same to Judith.

As far as my own theory, I think she had some form of psychotic break during the beginning of the zombie apocalypse. I believe her mind most likely snapped due the outbreak and the ensuing chaos.

  • 1
    IANAD, but it sounds like some sort of combo of schizophrenia and psycho/sociopathy.
    – phantom42
    Apr 2, 2014 at 17:31
  • What does sociopathy have to do with believing walkers are still people? (Note: I'm not a huge follower of TWD, so there may be signs of sociopathy, it just doesn't sound as such from the description here.)
    – Brian S
    Apr 2, 2014 at 18:49
  • 3
    One of the signs of sociopathy according to Hervey Cleckley is : Poor judgment and failure to learn by experience. Also in the Macdonald Triad they associate cruelty to animals as sociopathy. Three behaviors—bedwetting, cruelty to animals and firestarting, known as the Macdonald triad—were first described by John Macdonald as possible indicators, if occurring together over time during childhood, of future episodic aggressive behavior. All this info is from Psychopathy wiki... en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychopathy Apr 2, 2014 at 19:46

I always assumed she was a sociopath because of how she treated animals, especially the rabbit. She told Tyreese she "was just having fun." But what Ashlyn says above makes sense. Lizzie does have empathy & emotions. She does bond with others. In a pre-apocalyptic world, she probably could have been helped psychiatrically. Whatever her diagnosis, she was turning into a killer. Even Mika said earlier to Carol that Lizzie wasn't weak, she was just "messed up." That leads me to believe that Lizzie had been showing signs of mental illness prior to the apocalypse.


If Lizzie had visited a psychiatric clinic she most likely would have been diagnosed with some form of psychosis (perhaps reactive) with delusions (believing the walkers are friendly) and mild auditory hallucinations (claiming to be able to hear them). In addition she might receive the diagnosis conduct disorder for her habit of torturing animals. Lizzie's use of violence towards her sister and Judith could be seen as part of her psychosis in combination with her budding anti social tendencies.

Now diagnoses are only descriptive, they don't explain why a person has psychiatric symptoms. But a speculation would be that Lizzie had an inherent vulnerability for psychosis, and that it triggered from the stress of the wole zombie-outbreak thing. It is rather rare with psychosis at such a young age, but it happens. If not for the outbreak it might have triggered when she moved away from home, started college, had a bad breakup, was stressed about her exams and so forth.

The conduct disorder probably was there all the time. Lots of different theories propose answers as to why children develop these behavioral patterns. The truth is that we just don't know.


I am no doctor but I know it isn't psychopathy. Psychopaths exhibit a loss of empathy and emotions due to anti social personality disorder. They usually are very calculating and don't show signs of remorse. She still feels empathy. She believes that walkers are still alive. That's why she tried to smother Judith. She thought that Judith wouldn't really die and she would end up being quiet. That's why she killed her sister. She didn't believe that she would really die. That's why when Carol killed her "friend" she freaked. She believed that once you die as a zombie, you really die. Because she was so young when the outbreak happened, I think that her developing mind got confused with the whole life and death concept because zombie resurrection was thrown into the mix.

Also unlike a psychopath, she clearly displays emotions. True she does try to make people believe that she's scared of zombies when she's around other people, but she definitely showed regret and panic. She regretted disappointing Carol. When she panicked she had to calm down by looking at flowers.

Lizzie isn't the only one though. It seems to be a recurring theme on Walking Dead that there's someone having trouble accepting that the walkers aren't "people" anymore and are dead. We saw it a little in Hershel and the Governor. Each of them may have responded differently but they all at one point found it difficult to understand life and death. Perhaps it's also bringing into question what separates them from people other than the change. They were human and alive once. People can be monsters like walkers too. What is it that separates them from us? They are trying to survive just like we are and are killing people like some people do. The answer is one: a heart beat, two: rationality, three and most importantly in this show: emotion and empathy. I think that they were really trying to stress that towards the end when they killed Lizzie. To remind the viewers that she isn't a psychopathic monster. That she was a confused person with a wrong understanding of the world. (They killed her because She wouldn't have been able to recuperate in that world because of the constant mental stress and traumatic experiences that she would continue to experience for the rest of her life)

  • 1
    "Psychopaths exhibit a loss of empathy and emotions due to anti social personality disorder. They usually are very calculating and don't show signs of remorse." This description is more common in a sociopath. Psychopathic behavior can be rooted in emotion and a warped sense of reality. Schizophrenia can lead to hearing voices and being persuaded simply by beveling you can hear, or "Just know" the message you're being told. I think that would be the original diagnosis, but due to the world she was living in influencing and her age, it probably was rapidly metamorphosing to other symptoms.
    – user58379
    Dec 31, 2015 at 21:11

I know that she was too young to be diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, but she did fit some of the criterias. Her delusional thinking about the zombies, and her thinking that she could hear them. Her affect was often flat which showed some signs of emotional problems. Yet she was young, but she was showing signs. Lizzie definitely was special.

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