When a person's thinking, feeling, and behavior are so far from normal as to interfere with his or her ability to function in everyday life, and he or she experiences delusions or hallucinations, he or she is afflicted with a mental illness called schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is one of the most serious mental illnesses because it causes its victims to lose touch with reality and makes him or her unable to perform in society (Smith 23).
The word schizophrenia literally means "a splitting of the mind." (Torrey 176) The disease is also called paranoia and schizophrenia reaction, but it s official term is "schizophrenic disorder." "Today we think of schizophrenia as a complex psychobiological illness with resultant disorganization to such an extent that the individual experiences major changes in personality and major disabilities in the conduct of his or her life." (Mendel 182)
"Schizophrenia is the most common and destructive form of psychosis, which is an impairment of thinking in which your interpretation of reality can be severely abnormal."
(Mayo Clinic Health Information) Psychosis is the scientific word for "insanity," and is a symptom of a disordered brain. The following text will describe the history, possible causes, effects, and symptoms of schizophrenia.
In 1896, a German physicist named Emil Kraeplin used the term "dementia praecox" to categorize a group of mental diseases that had previously been considered unrelated. In 1908, Swiss psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler corrected this theory and renamed it schizophrenia, "emphasizing the dissociative brain deterioration." (Columbia Encyclopedia)
There are many symptoms associated with schizophrenia. Kurt Schneider developed a list of eleven first-rank symptoms used to diagnose schizophrenia. They include:
the perception of audible thoughts, voices arguing, voices commentating on one's actions, influence playing on the body, somatic passivity, thought withdrawal, thoughts ascribed to others (thought insertion), diffusion or broadcasting of...