Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate August 2001

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One of the most common psychotic disorders that is widespread throughout the world is schizophrenia. According to Encarta Encyclopedia, it affects about 1.8 million people in the United States alone and approximately one percent of all people at some point in life.

Yahoo!Health defines it as a psychotic disorder characterized by disturbances in thought, perception, affect, behavior, and communication lasting longer than six months. Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness that greatly affects the patient's daily life.

Schizophrenia is characterized by some physical symptoms and some conditions occurring in the victim's thinking and actions. The symptoms include delusions, hallucinations, bizarre behavior, disorganized thinking and speech, social withdrawal, and other minor symptoms. The victim's delusions are true to them but obviously untrue to others. They may think the government is plotting against them, or that they have been abducted by aliens. They can experience hallucinations, too. The hallucinations may affect any of the senses, again making the victim believe false things are true.

The patient cannot tell the difference between reality and imagination(Encarta). About three-fourths of all sufferers will suffer from auditory hallucinations-- hearing voices in their heads(Facts). They may also have awkward or bizarre behavior such as, making random noises or movements repetitively or remaining in one pose for a long period of time. The patient may also think or speak in a cluttered way, or they may talk at a slower or faster rate. This symptom may also include stopping in the middle of a sentence.

Another symptom affecting the patient is social withdrawal. This feature includes hiding from others or difficulty displaying emotions, known as the flat or blunted affect. Other signs may be trouble remembering things, lack of attention, wild imagination, and trouble planning ahead.

Some of the conditions of schizophrenia are high suicide and drug...