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The Effects Of Schizophrenia Throughout A Lifetime

2093 words - 9 pages

Schizophrenia, which affects approximately 51 million people around the world, is a disorder of the brain which causes one to interpret reality in a manner that is considered abnormal. While the cause of schizophrenia is unknown, numerous scientists believe that schizophrenia arises from a combination of factors including chemical imbalance in the brain, environmental influence, and heredity. Schizophrenia can have a negative effect on one's life if not properly treated, however, if managed well, with the right medication; a person with schizophrenia can lead a long and fulfilling life.

Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that first begins to exhibit symptoms early in life, such as around adolescence or young adulthood. It generally results in delusions, withdrawal from social situations, odd mannerisms, and loss of personality. Numerous scientists believe that schizophrenia arises from a combination of environmental, genetic, and biological factors which, unfortunately, makes it exceptionally difficult to isolate the cause of schizophrenia thus making it virtually impossible to cure. However, a person with schizophrenia who utilizes the proper medication is as able as anyone else to live a perfectly normal and productive life.
History of Schizophrenia
Researchers believe that schizophrenia has been around since before the time of pharaohs as is demonstrated by the fact that mention of a mental disorder similar to schizophrenia can be found in the Egyptian Book of Hearts. The word ‘schizophrenia’ however, is less than 100 years old and was coined by Eugen Bleuler in 1911 from the Greek roots ‘schizo’ meaning split and ‘phrene’ meaning mind. Bleuler renamed the disorder since its original name, dementia praecox as given to it by Dr. Emile Kraepelin in 1887, was misleading and did not accurately describe the disorder. In earlier decades when schizophrenia was still a mystery to the scientific community countless people believe that anyone who acted abnormal was either possessed or being punished by God so they would use a variety of methods to “cure” the person. One such cure involved drilling out portions of the patient’s brain in a method that has been around nearly as long as mankind itself. Archaeologist's discoveries of Stone Age skulls with holes drilled into them indicate that schizophrenia has existed as long as humans have. The Old Testament which details King Saul’s fall into madness further supports the idea that those who acted mad must have been punished for angering God. During the Renaissance the Church partook in the burning of numerous 'heretics' most of whom were merely victims of mental illness. In later times the Greek physician Hippocrates theorized that mental illness derives from a balance of humors in the body which lead people to try to cure others with treatments of special diets, purgatives, and blood-lettings. In the early twentieth century psychiatrists began using 'fever therapy,' sleep therapy,...

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