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What Is Schizophrenia? Essay

1636 words - 7 pages

What is Schizophrenia?Schizophrenia is a group of mental illnesses characterized by hallucinations, delusions, and distorted views of reality. It affects roughly one hundred fifty people out of one hundred thousand and accounts for more than half of all hospitalizations. Schizophrenia usually appears between the late-teens and mid-thirties. It is the most chronic and disabling mental illness; it affects the way people think, feel, and act. The disorder impairs a person's ability to manage emotions, interact with others, and think clearly. It generally occurs in periods of remission and relapse. Symptoms will often disappear, only to return later. Often, a schizophrenic has trouble determining the difference between what is reality and what is imaginary. There is no cure for schizophrenia; however, there are many treatment options available.There are three main forms of schizophrenia: disorganized, catatonic, and paranoid. Although there are other forms of the disorder, these are the most prominent. Many people commonly associate schizophrenia with multiple personality disorder, this is however, not true. Multiple personality disorder is a separate and extremely rare condition. Also, while some schizophrenics do have violent tendencies, most do not.Many schizophrenics have trouble functioning in normal society, even after they have been treated. The disorder often affects people for their entire lives.HistoryThe two key people in the history of schizophrenia were Emil Kraepelin and Eugen Bleuler. Kraepelin organized seriously mentally ill patients into three diagnostic groups: dementia praecox, manic-depressive psychosis, and paranoia. Kraeplin's description of dementia praecox emphasizes a chronic deteriorating course, in addition to other symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions. Kraepelin reported that approximately 4% of his patients had complete recoveries and 13% had significant remissions. The term "manic-depressive psychosis" identified patients who experienced episodes of illness separated by complete remissions. The main symptom of patients diagnosed as having paranoia had delusions of being persecuted.Bleuler coined the term "schizophrenia", which means split mindedness, in reference to the split between thought, emotion, and behavior. This term has caused confusion with split personality (also called multiple personality), a completely different disorder from schizophrenia. Bleuler's definition of schizophrenia differed from Kraeplin's dementia praecox in-two ways: first, Bleuler did not feel that deterioration was a necessary symptom of the disorder; Second, Bleuler divided the symptoms into primary and secondary symptoms. The most important primary symptom was a thought disorder characterized by associational disturbances, particularly looseness. The other fundamental symptoms were affective disturbances, autism, and ambivalence. Secondary symptoms included hallucinations and delusions. Both Kraepelin and Bleuler assumed that...

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