Down With The Sickness

Album: The Sickness (2000)


  • This is about how society treats people who are "different." A lot of people think they are "sick" and "wrong" and want nothing to do with them.
  • In the middle of the song, lead singer David Draiman acts out a skit where he is being abused by his mother (not in the radio version). Finally, he builds up enough courage and hits her right back. This is used to symbolize how "mother society" abuses "her" children for not being the way "she" thinks they should. "She" keeps doing it until "her" children get sick of it and are so angry with her and themselves they go out and get revenge for it, most likely by killing the people that hurt them ("here it comes, get ready to die!") A good example of this would be the school shootings that go on around the country.
  • Getting "Down With The Sickness" means accepting people for who they are so we can all function better. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Nick - Paramus, NJ, for all above
  • This was used on the soundtrack to Queen Of The Damned, one of Aaliyah's last movies.
  • Two versions were used in the remake of the movie Dawn Of The Dead. The first, a pop-jazz cover, was performed by Richard Cheese And Lounge Against The Machine. The second version, the one that appears uncensored on Disturbed's album, was played during the credits. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Sam - Champaign, IL
  • David Draiman has gone on record to deny that the macaque-style: "Ooh-wa-ah-ah-ah" noise on this track was caused by heartburn. He did once have surgery for acid reflux, but insists that the noise "just came out."
  • "Down With The Sickness" was among the songs that saw a surge in sales and streams in March 2020 because the lyrics tied in with concern over the coronavirus pandemic spreading across the globe.

Comments: 85

  • RobnI had this interpretation of down with the sickness:
    When any personality disorder (or false sense of self) is developed after abuse or post-trauma from parents who themselves have a personality disorder, in the case of this song: sociopathy or psychopathy - your "down with the sickness".
    'And when I dream' section is the sociopathic or psychopathic violent abuse. Probably a flashback which is a symptom of many post-trauma stuff.
  • Siahara Shyne Carter from United StatesI love this song
    Really bad ass!
    '''When you give it to me""" It sounds like when I give you drugs I became like this xD
    love the beat of drums too

    This song will never be old because it Only gets even more popular this time because of (Corona Virus) They are Down of thier Sickness . lol Me too Down of Staying at home and

    Did Nothing ;-)
  • Amari from New YorkThis song was can also be about addiction..... the changes an addict goes through, everything that was once good has died cause the sickness took over. There's no turning back you open up a deamon with drugs. Now you going through changes. The oh wa ah ah ah is the sound of a monkey. In other words the monkey on your back
  • Kevin From Boston Ma.This song is about David's mother abusing him. David was a problem child, in and out of boarding schools. His mother could not control him, so she reprimanded and dissaplined him with severe and physical abuse. Not all, but if you check the past of musicians you'll be surprised how many of them had problems in the family or being bullied in school...ect...Alot of songs written by musicians are about their past, written from the heart! I think it is why a lot of them might get involved with alcohol and drugs(which I think is better music due to the influence of drugs...sad, but true). Be safe all.
  • Jerry from At The StoreThis is how the ones given secrets by devils drain energy or power, afterwards, they speak as if drunk, and if they fail, and they do when you are assertive and speak truth about them, they whine or experience a strong weakness or fear feeling. This is referring to voices that attempt to place the madness in you. Quoting bible (old testament) verses to them that condemn them works well.
  • Jerry from At The StoreI know what this song is about. Every day as I go about my business at home, I am harassed by "voices" at some point, usually at night and through the wee hours of the morning. They constantly talk nonsense and s--t and are extremely spiteful and annoying. Eventually one will say something and I will get unusually pissed, not a normal anger, but a murderous rage, and it is almost instant. Sometimes I will not even have heard what they said. It is their very voice. It leaves me drained for days in addition to the normal w/d from crystal. I want to kill them. I recall a story where a dude in oregon killed his mother by cutting her head off and taking it to the grocery store, stories like this and mass shootings make me believe that the "madness/sickness" is the cause.
  • Erin from CaliThe song to me which that broke my heart indefinitely. This song meaning a mother drinking, son couldn't handle it.
  • Patti from MichiganPowerful song with a powerful video. I think the fact that "Weird Al" Yankovic used a section of this song in his "Angry White Boy Polka" should be added to the song facts. He performed all of the songs polka style, and strung sections of the videos from all of them together. Brilliant! That polka was on his CD "Poodle Hat," which came out in 2003. More recently, the "oh wah-ah-ah-ah" sound could be heard every time Al hit the button on Chris Hardwick's show @midnight on Comedy Central. This was on 2/14/17. It never got old!
  • John from OhI know exactly what this means. I was beaten all my childhood by my mother and the sickness is the anger built up over time. Having my head banged against a wall, hair pulled out, black eye, beaten until I crawled under a table where she couldn't get to me. No help came for me. Anger was beaten into me and I have spent my life trying diffuse the anger.
  • Zack from Noblesville, InI love this song - so dark and demented just like me.
  • Jacob from Jackson, TnPersonally, I think "the sickness" is the actual torturing of the people who are "different." I mean, it says "I can see inside you, the sickness is rising," and I don't see how that could relate to "the sickness" being the people who are "different." I think "the sickness" also represents the rage that is depicted in the "abuse" section. So, the person is saying to himself "get down with the sickness" and go off on all the people who have tortured him/her.
  • Trenton from Oklahoma City, OkWhy can't we all just get down with the sickness?
  • Frank from Waterbury, CtI read somewhere in an interview with Disturbeds singer David Draiman that this song is about child abuse from the victims perspective.
  • Ryan from Anahola, HiThis song is on Rock Band 2, but if you are on vocals, you don't sing the abuse segment. You just play a bunch of percussion notes.
  • Gabe from New York, NyI heard from a friend that while the meaning on this site is correct, it was also about David Draiman's parent's reaction to his being satanic.
  • Matt from Tylersburg, PaI see a lot of people like this song. I do, too, and, like most of Disturbed's music, it inspires me at an emotional level. A god way to vent your frustrations is to listen to this song.

    I see two possible meanings:

    It could be demonstrating how society mistreats those who are "imperfect." Many are abused, ridiculed, or even shunned because they don't "fit in."

    It could also be revealing the emotional strains of the mistreated. They will just let the abusive actions take place until anger consumes them, and retaliation would insue because of it.
  • Paul from San Benito, TxThis song has so powerful lyrics to it. It makes the point of retaliation against people who push and shove and then they seem all shocked when the person they were abusing snaps back and beats them down orkills them in blind rage. the skit part about the son acting against his momma is powerful cuz it shows that people caan retaliate against anyone including they're closest family. The best way to use this song is to summarize the people who kill in blind rage like school shootings or people finding their spouses cheating on them and going beserk. it shows just how anyone can be driven over the edge
  • Sam from San Diego, CaThis song was in the older movie, The Queen of The Damned. Me and my sister, May, love this song so much!
  • Rachel from Marshall, NcDISTURBED RULES!!!!!! Every time I hear down with the sickness I think of the anime Bleach, since tha main character has something like a demon inside of him. Anyway, this band ROCKS!!!!
  • Brian from Philadelphia, PaIn the 1997 movie "Suicide kings" Dennis Leary plays the part of a mob bodyguard. He has a scene where he talks about his mother having "the sickness", from the rest of the dialog you get that she was physically abusive. That phrase didn't originate in the movie, but that is what the title refers to. Great tune.
  • Jennifer from Liberty, ScI always thought of "down with the sickness" as after taking so much eventually you snap and dish it back to the ones who put you through hell so you end up (even if its just for a few seconds) just like them doing the same things they do only for revenge... And it totally fits with the zombie/vampire metaphor b/c its like theyve poisioned you and you turn into one of them... Anyway this song gets me pumped & ready 2 f--k someone or something up (which is unusual if you know me lol).
  • Gabby from OrDown With The Sickness is really really good, ALL of my friends think that i am a Emo/gothic/demon thing. They ignore me completely! I think they are all retards for thinking the way they do. I only get respect from some. the others well,they think i will (cruse there souls and bring them down to hell or something)?/ thats what they said btw.
  • Zuko from Rancho , UtI'm gonne tell the truth of this song...IT HALF SUCKS!!!!!! I mean, I do love it cus the music and the rythim is just awsome, it gets me motivated for competitions and stuff, but the lyricks are awful Not all of it, but the whole skit thing and the beating up of mother is just AWFUL!!!! I hate the thought of a son beating up his mother, for whatever reason. A mother is the one the nurtures you and brings you into this world. A bark is worse than a bite. Of course, not EVERYONE feels that they're mother does so much for them , but still ITS AWFUL AND A BITCH TO HEAR. Other than that, its fun to listen to, I like to relate it to my dysfunctional character that I created, its pretty darn catchy, but no abusing mommas!!!!!!!!
  • Nicholas from Erie, PaThis group pumps me up and gives me the edge i need to start my day off right LOL.
  • Lilly from East Meadow, Nythe part with the mother abusing the child: when he yells at her and then hits her, don't we all just wanna do that at some point?
  • Monique from Fresno, CaThe skit in the middle is the best. One of my favorite songs on this cd.
  • Zach from Buckeye, AzFIRST OF ALL! DISTURBED IS KICK ASS AND EMILY FROM MANCHESTER IS RETARDED! Second of all, i always thought this song was about someone who would do anything for love and that she doesnt love him back inspite of that. So he is saddened with the "Sickness" and the skit is basiclly saing how he wants to bring her down with him now and is prepared to hit her if he has to, which in the end he does. (they used the mom to son relationship because mom and son should always love each other no matter what... but these 2 obviously dont...) Third, This song got me addicted to metal and disturbed! And finnaly, this song touched me in a way no other song has and i give disturbed lots of "kutos" for that!
  • J.r. from Crowville, WaI always thought this was about somebody who was going crazy and the lyrics describe what it feels like to have a break in reality.
  • Tony from Crown Point, InI lol @ the skit thing in the middle.
  • Nicole from Chicago, IlOh...and the "oh wa a a a" part is pretty awesome too...
  • Nicole from Chicago, IlThis song has an awesome chorus! I think it's the best part of the song, aside from the opening guitars.
  • Chantal from Oxfordshire, United Kingdomjust read a comment bout wat they stated bout they are sounding like nirvana who eva thinks that u are seriously mistaken they sound nothing like nirvana. Disturbed is more heavy metal. nirvana is to soft. and this song rockzzzz. just like all their music.
    C frm UK
  • Kaila from Vandalia, OhThis song, along with I think Ever Be by Korn reminds me of Resident Evil...
  • Cooper from North Salt Lake, Utoooo ha ah ah ah
  • Jack from Claremont, MnFirstly, the drums are so crazy in this song. Beginning drummers should aspire to play this song. Disturbed is such a bad ass band, and this song got me hooked onto them, and Disturbed got me hooked on to metal. And how is this trying to be like Nirvana? They weren't writing an anthem. They were writing how they feel. Disturbed rocks.
  • Amy from Nunyabiz, AlThis song rocks! OMG the skit is so great. I feel like that a lot with my mom. I heard this song on Dawn of the Dead & I loved it! Hooked ever since. Keep rocking!
  • Bev from Anywhere, Wiwhen I was growing up my sister and I got picked on alot in school and not just a little bit of teasing, it was bad and yes it hurt alot. Did I ever think of getting revenge against those who hurt me, yes at the time, but as time went by I learned that I didnt want to sink down to their level otherwise they would have won. I can understand to a point where this song is coming from , but when does the madness end, this is just my oppinion so please dont send back any nasty comments , Thankyou!
  • Rhys from Mandurah, WaDisturbed is my third fav Band

    I own all their albums

    and this song has the best build up aye and its so succesful song

    its on quite a lot of movies and soundtrakcs if u havnt noticed.

    disturbed have always been wicked and they always will be GET DOWN WITH THE SICKNESS lol love disturbed!
  • Aj from Mihey rachel, does that mean you love me? haha, jk. i cant get enough of this song. oh oh
  • Rachel from Cleveland, AlOMG!!! If you don't love this song then I don't love you. Disturbed is the best band ever!! My stepfather got me hooked on them.
  • Kevin from Hudson, NhThis is an awesome song! I got hookedon Disturbed after hearing this song on the "Q o D" soundtrack.
  • Spog Zallagi from Blue Hill, MeNot really a metal fan but I like this song. Wierd and funny! My friend always plays it when he's playing Gears of War.
  • Achory from Warner Robins, Gai heard the piece weird al used in "angry white boy polka" and thought it sounded pretty cool; i decided to listen to this, and i've gotta admit, the band's name fits.
  • Tommy from Marietta, GaGREAT SONG!! Everytime I work out, it's always getting me working, I also love Richard Cheese's "jazz" version of the song to.
  • Charles from Big Rock, TnThis song ROCKS!!! I love listening to it and picturing a music video in which I turn into an apathetic and demonic shell of my former self and tear my schoolyard tormentors apart. I am then gunned down by the police and as I am dying everyone realises that they made me what I am. Disturbed is awesome!
  • Brad from Kokomo, InDisturbed Rules im accually starting my own band (pray 4 me) '_'
  • Esther from Sauwerd, NetherlandsNoodles, personally I like KoRn, Norther, Finntroll, Korpiklaani, Marylin Manson, Lacuna Coil, Dragonforce, etc. Not that you'll find the scandinavian bands here.
    This song's brilliant. First time I'd hear from Disturbed and I was sold. From my vision, it's about how you don;t realize you're being treated wrong, until you know how different it should be. (a fish doesn't know it's a wateranimal until it gets lifted out of the water) But when he sees that, he gets so mad and so pissed that he'd kill his own mother just for all the misery she put him through.
  • Carlee from St.joseph, MoYOU GUYS KICK A$$!!!!!!!!
  • Lacie from Whitefish, MtThis song is interesting...but i mostly just like the Aw wha aw aw aw part
  • Billy from Billy, Alabama, FlWhen I was young my parents were mean to me. They made me sleep on the carpet and brush my teeth. WAS THAT BAD OR WHAT! They they told me "There is no santa!" in a squeaky voice...just like my parents. So one day I went to the gun shop and I bought a kit kat bar..."give me a break, give me a break, break me a piece of that KIT KAT BAR YEAH!" I love that song, man! So after I got the candy I went back to my house and slept peacefully on the carpet with the cockroaches, spiders, worms, leaches,lions, tigers, and bears, and duckies, and there was a guy tring to give me booze....IT WAZ MICHEAL JACKSON! I SWEAR IT WAS! Any way I lived my life peacfull as the scarface of a trillion dollar estate....more rescently known as a hobbo box...DAMN YOU MICHEAL JACKSON!
  • Bob from Cafirst off emily from manchester not even going to say it. second eveyone who likes this song and band and metal is cool. this song rocks majour a#* and no korn did not cover or make this song.
  • Noodles from Longmont, Cois disturbed a god rock band my friend seems to think so but i don't. and what are some other good bands for someone who likes disturbed?
  • Tristan from Omaha, NeI think that this song is the best pump up song ever i listen to it before any football games to get me ready and it one of the most hate filled song ive heard and it is got really good dums and guitar in the song too
  • John from P,cola, FlDISTURBED is so awesome i am a huge fan down with the sickness
  • Arthur from Sydney, AustraliaNobody has mentioned that it was the soundtrack to The One (2001), starring Jet Li.
  • Tj from Tumut, Australiathis song ain't no Korn cover
  • Sara from Savannah, GaI love this song! It is so awesome. I love this
    song beacause of the movie Queen Of The Damned.
    I love this song when Lestat actually lip synches
    this song.
  • Randall from Donalsonville, GaDavid was abused by his mother. She kept hitting him and hitting him. When he got older he lashed out at her and almost killed her.
  • Michael from Is Bored In, Nji like the drums in this song. I also think it's cool that the guitarist actually plays guitar(unlike most other bands these days).
  • Alison from Kill Devil Hills, Ncthey kick ass!!!!!
  • Frank from Hickville, GaRichard Cheese is not pop-jazz. It's called lounge. Hence: LOUNGE Against The Machine.
  • Sixx from Chartuck , Mithis song is not about society, or anything like that. Its about the mosh pit. Its about agression. David Draiman says so himself during his shows.
  • Liz from Petersburg, VaOk Emily from Manchester, I know we all have our own opinions. I don't see how Disturbed could ever be tacky or cheep at all. Look into the lyrics and find the true meanings behind them, that will show you how deep they truely are. Here's a hint, a lot of the song lyrics aren't as they appear (such as the ending to this song). Disturbed doesn't sing about being 'abused'. They sing about how corrupt this society is and if anyone pays any attention to what is really happening in the world and in America, they will understand. They sing about 'abuse' in this song to explain the relationship between Mother Culture and her children (society and the people who are hated and cut off from it because they are 'different'). It's not sick; It's the cold, hard truth. This nation lacks acceptance; just look at the hypocrites, segregators, and discriminators. Disturbed doesn't sing about that because they like it, they sing about that because they hate it. They express their hatred towards the way society treats those 'different', how everyone can't live their own life without at some time being picked on, talked about, or beat up. They want to reach out to those whom these things have affected. Not to bring them pain, but to let them know that there are people who can see Mother Culture for who 'she' really is and want to put a stop to it. They want to bring strength and unity to those who have had their souls stolen from the hatrid of the world. You, Emily, said you wanted to know what someone sees in this band. Well, now you know.
  • Ashley from Chester, VaHey. This song is so awesome.
  • Crystal from Stockton, CaMy favorite part of this song is when he talks about FINALLY HITTING HIS "MOTHER" BACK!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Emily from Manchesteri think disturbed are tacky and cheep, and i think that its not deep what so ever, ye ok its about being abused, thats not deep! its sick! and it cauz alot of people pain if they have been abused it might bring it all back, personally i dont get what everyone see's in this band.
  • Adam from Poplar Bluff, Moisnt this a cover of a korn song
    - Yo-Mama, Las Vegas, NV

    No, Korn couldn't write anything this good.
  • Taylor from Nyi meant to type down with the sickness...
  • Taylor from Nywell, yeah david acts out that skit, and it is on some radio on 107.3 where i live, and they hardly edit anything at all, but thats how is best:-) it just sounds natural, and btw, down with the suckness is an awesome song
  • Drew from Abilene, TxI believe that instead of saying open up your hate and let it flow into me he's saying open up your hate and leave it open to me. I could be mistaken, which wouldn't surprise me in the least. That's just how it sounds to me.
  • Lydia from Tulsa, OkHell, I just think it's a good song, I don't even care if it's deep or not.
  • Yo-mama from Las Vegas, Nvisnt this a cover of a korn song
  • Matt from Wheeling, Il"Open up your hate, and let it flow into me". Haha, it could be giving in to the dark side of the force!! :)
  • Jess from Edison, Nji love this song. everything is so great about it, the lyrics, the guitar and bass its just all so great. if youve been abused in the past it can reach out to you how he gets the courage to hit her back towards the end
  • Chris from Tampa, Flin the movie Dawn of the Dead, there is a lounge cover of this song playing. The artist is Richard Cheese and Lounge against the Machine. His version is great. He covers lots of modern songs in a Las Vegas Lounge singer style.
  • Matt from Millbrae, Cai know its a good song, but you can't help thinking these guys were trying to copy Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit in the sense of creating a song for the "disillusioned youth" of America. it's been done already, bands should stop trying to make anthems. as a normal song, this rocks though.
  • Vince from Philiadelphia, PaIts about when you realize that your sickness is a great gift, so you embrace it and enjoy it!
  • Ryan from Philadelphia, PaI believe that this song is about the people who listen to these songs. Were different were Disturbed and slowly making more and more of society get down with the sickness or become Disturbed. But when hearing the verse i get a different feeling like this song is about someone changing into the person he's been hidding. I like to use this version cause i can realte to it and how my life has changed now that I have gotten down with the sickness.
  • Maureen from Prospect, VaThis song "Down With The Sickness" is talking about a epidemic that is going around in China. I think that this song was written for the people in China. :)
  • Durwin from Brisbane/gold Coast, Australiai think its about someone getting getting picked on by others, at the start he says "drowning deep in my sea of loathing, broken your servant i kneel" it could be about someone gettin repeatedly beaten or picked on and not doing anything about it, just letting it happen to them, then at the end the anger of that person gradually builds up and gets bottled up inside so much that it overflows resulting in them unleashing all the anger at one time and giving the bully hell.
  • Lisa from Mckinney, Txi think this song is a masterpiece and the 'skit' at the end really adds alot about what lots of people stand for. this song (as do alot of other disturbed songs) helps me alot when im having a bad day because it says alot about me and how i usually feel.
  • Adrian from Newcastle, Australiadisturbed r full phsyco and really disturbed thats wat makes them so good, because u can relate to them wen your not feeling your self and angry
  • Ninny from Riverside, CaJust for all of you who haven't seen Dawn of the Dead, but Down with the sickness also plays at the end of the movie-and they don't leave out the "skit".

    This song has meaning, and depth...listen to it if you've never heard it
  • Meagan from Greenville, ScI think its about being pushed to the edge, yeah, but also about hiding a part of yourself until you cant hide it any longer and it comes out even if you didnt want it too. ( looking at my own reflection when suddenly it changes)
  • John from Detroit, Mii believe it's about somebody being pushed so far to the edge that when they retaliate it is so vicious it seems evil. (You've opened up the demon in me)
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