What is Schizophrenia?

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What is Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a group of mental illnesses characterized by hallucinations, delusions, and distorted views of reality. It affects roughly one hundred fifty people out of one hundred thousand and accounts for more than half of all hospitalizations. Schizophrenia usually appears between the late-teens and mid-thirties. It is the most chronic and disabling mental illness; it affects the way people think, feel, and act. The disorder impairs a person's ability to manage emotions, interact with others, and think clearly. It generally occurs in periods of remission and relapse. Symptoms will often disappear, only to return later. Often, a schizophrenic has trouble determining the difference between what is reality and what is imaginary. There is no cure for schizophrenia; however, there are many treatment options available.

There are three main forms of schizophrenia: disorganized, catatonic, and paranoid. Although there are other forms of the disorder, these are the most prominent.

Many people commonly associate schizophrenia with multiple personality disorder, this is however, not true. Multiple personality disorder is a separate and extremely rare condition. Also, while some schizophrenics do have violent tendencies, most do not.

Many schizophrenics have trouble functioning in normal society, even after they have been treated. The disorder often affects people for their entire lives.


The two key people in the history of schizophrenia were Emil Kraepelin and Eugen Bleuler. Kraepelin organized seriously mentally ill patients into three diagnostic groups: dementia praecox, manic-depressive psychosis, and paranoia. Kraeplin's description of dementia praecox emphasizes a chronic deteriorating course, in addition to other symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions. Kraepelin reported that approximately 4% of his patients had complete recoveries and 13% had significant remissions. The term "manic-depressive psychosis" identified patients who experienced episodes of illness separated by complete remissions. The main symptom of patients diagnosed as...