Essay by EssaySwap ContributorCollege, Undergraduate February 2008

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Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that severely impacts how 2.5 million Americans think, feel, and act. People with schizophrenia often suffer terrifying symptoms such as hearing internal voices or believing that other people are reading their minds, controlling their thoughts, or plotting to harm them. These symptoms may leave them fearful and withdrawn. Their speech and behavior can be so disorganized that they may be incomprehensible or frightening to others.

Schizophrenia affects the normal functioning of the brain that help us to tell the difference between fact and fiction, to think logically, to perceive reality correctly, to have normal emotional responses, and to act appropriately in social situations. The part of the brain thought to be affected by schizophrenia is the limbic system. It was realized that the limbic system might be the source of the malfunction when it was discovered that all information and incoming stimuli must pass through the limbic system before being sorted.

Functions of the limbic systems include behavior and emotions. In healthy people the brain functions in such a way that incoming stimuli are sorted and interpreted and followed by a logical response. The inability of patients with schizophrenia to sort or interpret stimuli and select appropriate responses are one of the characteristics of the disease.

While the cause of schizophrenia is not known, the ?dopamine hypothesis? has been the main theory regarding to cause of schizophrenia. The brain is made up of nerve cells, called neurons, and chemicals, called neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters come in many different varieties. Some are designed to enhance the likelihood that electrical impulses are generated in the next neuron, and some are designed to inhibit the generation of electrical impulses. Dopamine in certain synapses of the brain seems to be involved in the communication of extremely pleasurable sensations. In other synapses...