Essay by ol_smurf October 2005

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Schizophrenia has been found to be the most common of the various psychoses. The disorder was named by a Swiss psychiatrist, Eugene Bleuller. The word "schizophrenia" is used to described Bleuller's view that a splitting of psychic functions is a prominent feature of the disorder. A schizophrenic's ideas and feelings are isolated from one another: one may speak randomly, or express frightening or sad ideas in a happy manner. Schizophrenics do not have a "split personality", where different personalities show on different occasions.

There are many symptoms of schizophrenia including delusions, hallucinations, thought disorders, loss of boundaries between self and nonself, blunted or inappropriate emotional expression, socially inappropriate behavior, loss of social interests, and deterioration in areas of function such as work and self-care. Delusions can make a patient believe that he or she is being persecuted by those around them, that a machine controls their brain, or that they are someone else.

Hallucination, although they are mostly auditory, can also be visual or olfactory. The content is often hypochondriacal or religious. Some hallucinatory voices speak of matters related to the patient's emotional problems or delusional concerns. Others transmit apparently irrelevant messages. Thought disorders may include a general lowering of intellectual efficiency, a free- associative rambling form one topic to another, a loss of the distinction between figurative and literal usage of words, reduced ability to think abstractly, invention of new words, and idiosyncratic misuse of common words.

It appears that schizophrenia is a heterogeneous disorder. There are three variations of schizophrenia. Paranoid Schizophrenia is characterized by delusions. Catatonic schizophrenics may be silent and immobile for weeks or months, and then break out into a frenzy of agitation. Hebephrenic schizophrenics suffer from intellectual disorganization, the use of chaotic language, silliness, and absurd ideas that often concern deterioration of the patient's...