Schizophrenia. Includes Esse Leete's experience.

Essay by Anonymous UserCollege, UndergraduateA+, January 1996

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'In my senior year of high school, I began to experience personality changes. I

did not realize the significance of the changes at the time, and I think others denied

them, but looking back I can see that they were the earliest signs of illness. I became

increasingly withdrawn and sullen. I felt alienated and lonely and hated everyone. I felt

as if there were a huge gap between me and the rest of the world; everybody seemed so

distant from me.' This excerpt describes part of Esse Leete 20-year battle with

schizophrenia. She committed herself to leading the fullest life her disease will allow and

to educating others about mental illness. Schizophrenia is a very serious disease, but

through defining schizophrenia and getting the patient help and treatment a

schizophrenic can lead a full life like any other person.

Schizophrenia is defined as any of a group of psychotic reactions characterized by

withdrawal from reality with highly variable affective, behavioral and intellectual

disturbances by the American Heritage Dictionary. No definition of schizophrenia can

adequately describe all people with this illness. Schizophrenia is an extremely complex

mental illness. It is clear that schizophrenia is a disease which makes it difficult for the

person with the illness to decide what is real and what is not (Swados 5). It is also clear

that this brain disease affects normal, intelligent people in all walks of life. There are six

concrete phrases that describe schizophrenia: it is a real disease, has concrete and

specific symptoms, is different from other mental illnesses, is the result of flaws brain

biochemistry, may be treated by specific antipsychotic drugs, and is almost always


Scientist are unsure of the causes of schizophrenia, although research is

progressing rapidly. Scientist are almost certain that schizophrenia has more...