Essay by nirav50College, UndergraduateA+, November 2004

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In the article "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gillman, the main character, whose name is not revealed, shows many different signs of schizophrenia. If the person were alive today, different types of treatments and help could have made her life worth living. Schizophrenia, a disease of the brain, is one of the most debilitating and emotionally devastating illnesses known to mankind. But because it has been misunderstood for so long, it has received relatively little attention and its victims have been undeservingly stigmatized. Schizophrenia is not a split personality or a rare disorder. Like cancer and diabetes, it has a biological basis; bad parenting or personal weakness does not cause it. Schizophrenia is, in fact, a relatively common disease, with an estimated one percent to one and a half percent of the U.S. population being diagnosed with it over the course of their lives. While there is no known cure for this disorder, it is a treatable disease.

Most of those afflicted by schizophrenia respond to drug therapy, supportive therapy, hospitalization and many are able to lead fairly productive and fulfilling lives.

Schizophrenia is a chronic, severe, and disabling brain disease. The brain is made up of nerve cells, "neurons" and chemicals, "neurotransmitters." An imbalance of one neurotransmitter, dopamine, is thought to cause the symptoms of schizophrenia. Recent studies suggest that serotonin, another neurotransmitter, may also play a significant role in causing the symptoms of this disorder. "The "dopamine hypothesis" has been the main theory regarding the cause of the symptoms. Researchers believe that many of the symptoms of schizophrenia are a result of excess of dopamine in the brain" (Dopamine 1). "New theories suggest that the neurotransmitter serotonin may also play a role in causing the symptoms of schizophrenia. Some anti-psychotic medications treat symptoms by...