Schizophrenia is a psychotic disorder that causes severe mental disturbances which disrupt ones thoughts, speech, and behavior. According to Paul Thompson, Associate Professor of Neurology, one percent of the world’s population suffers from this disorder. There is no one specific cause of schizophrenia, because it is caused by a combination of problems during development. It is a disorder which not only affects the patient, but their family and society as well. Schizophrenia can be a debilitating disorder, however, there are many treatments that can allow people who suffer from it to lead normal lives.
“Schizophrenia, a complex and often disabling mental illness, is among the most serious of brain diseases” (Veague 1).To some schizophrenic patients, imagination and reality become so intertwined that they cannot distinguish between them. Those who suffer hear and see what no one else around them hears or sees and sometimes finds it impossible to believe the voices and visions are all a part of their imagination. Before the 1950’s, many schizophrenics had to remain in mental hospitals. Emil Kraepelin, a German psychiatrist, provided the first characterization of schizophrenia, in the late nineteenth century. “He believed that the disorder was caused by irreversible physical damage to the brain” (Veague 3). Eugen Bleuler, who was a contemporary of Emil Kraepelin, believed that schizophrenia was caused by psychological trauma sustained early in life. Since then, scientists have blocked the action of dopamine on certain nerve cells and also have developed other drugs which control the symptoms with fewer side effects.
Schizophrenia is much less common than bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and major depression, but most patients in psychiatric hospitals are in treatment for schizophrenia. There are no differences in the prevalence of schizophrenia by race, ethnicity, culture or religion. It occurs at the same rate in males as it does in females, though average males seem to be more severely disabled than females (Chapman 1). All social classes are affected by schizophrenia though in large cities about three or four times more frequent in lower classes than in middle or upper classes. This disease usually develops in late adolescence or early adulthood but may develop later. Childhood schizophrenia is relatively rare, but does exist.
There are three major types of schizophrenia, Paranoid, disorganized, and catatonic. Paranoid schizophrenia is when an individual develops absurd or suspicious ideas and beliefs. Their hallucinations and delusions typically revolve around an organized theme or "story" which consists over time. Disorganized schizophrenia generally appears at an earlier age than other types. It causes those to have disorganized speech, behavior, and have inappropriate emotions. These patients usually have trouble taking care of them and are unable to perform simple tasks. They sometimes suffer...