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Understanding Schizophrenia Essay

1927 words - 8 pages

Understanding Schizophrenia

When a person hears the word "crazy", their first thoughts are probably of symptoms of schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is seen as the ideal case of insanity. The causes of this disease remain unknown, but scientists are constantly searching for answers. Although a cure for schizophrenia is surely far in the future, research and understanding is making more and more progress every day.
To find a cure for schizophrenia, scientists must first understand the disease itself. Over the years, professionals have come up with a fairly accurate definition:
When a person's thinking, feeling, and behaving are so far from normal so as to interfere with his or her ability to function in everyday life, and delusions, hallucinations, or irregular thinking or emotions are produced, then he or she has a mental illness called schizophrenia (Smith 19).
The most common symptoms of schizophrenia are the typical hallucinations and delusions, and disturbed thinking. Other signs include abnormal physical activity, such as pacing or rocking, as well as abnormal speech and communication, such as silly talk and repetition.
The thought process of a normal person is basically organized, while the thought process of a person with schizophrenia is not. The person with schizophrenia usually has delusions and hallucinations that interfere with their thinking. Often times their speech is difficult to follow, out of order, and off subject.
The person's emotions are also all mixed up and usually incorrect. Instead of smiling or laughing at something amusing, the person with schizophrenia may get angry or upset. Such responses are usually easy to recognize, even by acquaintances. Schizophrenics are unable to shift gears quickly in. They often find it difficult to understand who they are, how they should act, or what they should feel.
Since not all schizophrenics act alike, professionals have sorted them out into three classic types. The first type is paranoid schizophrenia. Paranoid schizophrenics usually have a single theme or idea on which they focus their delusions and hallucinations. They are constantly afraid that people are "out to get them". The second type of schizophrenia is disorganized schizophrenia. Disorganized type schizophrenics show very unorganized behavior. Facial grimaces, extreme withdrawal, and constant health complaints are typical symptoms of this type of schizophrenia. Hallucinations and delusions are symptoms of all types of schizophrenia, but the disorganized schizophrenic also exhibits senseless laughter and silliness. The third type of schizophrenia is catatonic. Someone with catatonic schizophrenia may hold a single position for hours on end. This is called a "stupor". Their condition resembles that of suspended animation. Sometimes the person is rigid and hard to move, but at other times may flail around highly excited for no apparent reason. Although, through use of newer medications, catatonic schizophrenia is rare...

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