Essay by Anonymous UserHigh School, 12th gradeA-, January 1996

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WHAT IS SCHIZOPHRENIA? What does the term schizophrenia mean? In its most elementary sense, we might say that schizophrenia is a disease, invented by Eugene Bleeder. Eugene Bleeder was one of the most influential psychiatrists of his time. He is best known today for his introduction of the term schizophrenia, previously known as dementia praecox. In actuality, schizophrenia is often used generically and inappropriately as it is often applied to almost any kind of unusual behavior of which the speaker disapproves. Schizophrenia is almost universally viewed as the 'classic example of madness' . It is a startling and sometimes frightening experience to unexpectedly come across a person who proclaims himself Jesus Christ, rants gibberish, or sits with his body unmoving as if frozen in time and place. For some people, such an experience is too shocking, too fearsome, too repulsive. They hurry away, trying to dismiss the image of the deranged individual from their minds.

No other illness is as disabling and baffling as schizophrenia. Today, in spite of the drugs that have allowed many schizophrenics to live at home or in the community, a significant number of people admitted to mental hospitals are victims of the disease. According to the Encyclopedia Of Health, schizophrenics account for nearly 40% of admissions to state mental hospitals, 30% of psychiatric admissions to Veterans Administration hospitals, and about 20% of admissions to private psychiatric hospitals. Schizophrenia is incurable. Its cause or causes are yet unknown, and it is impossible to predict what course the disease will take. There are many theories about the causes of schizophrenia, its progression, and its eventual outcome. They are currently being explored by researchers around the world.

Schizophrenia's most dramatic symptoms are severe and perpetual delusions and hallucinations. A delusion is a false belief or...