Schizophrenia Life and Reality

Essay by beegeeCollege, UndergraduateA, February 2009

download word file, 16 pages 5.0

Encyclopedia Britannica defines schizophrenia as a term used by psychiatrists for a group of severe mental disorders that generally have in common disturbances of feeling thought, and relations to the outside world. German psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin (1856-1926) was the first to differentiate this disorder from other mental illnesses. He described schizophrenia as dementia (a term that coined by the French psychiatrist B.A. Morel) meaning literally splitting of the mind. There are three different kinds of schizophrenia. The hebephrenic type is characterized by shallow and inappropriate emotional reactions, irrational or bizarre behavior, delusions, and hallucinations. The catatonic type is characterized by unusual motor behavior. The person may stay in a state of motionlessness, be unable to talk, and have a lack of most voluntary actions. This state is at times broken up by occurrences of convulsions, violence, or other erratic behavior. Lastly, the paranoid type usually begins later in life than the other types mentioned above.

Paranoid schizophrenia is characterized by unlikely, irrational thinking, with delusions of persecution or delusions of greatness accompanied by hallucinations. The one symptom common to all types is a disorder where the schizophrenic is unable to think in abstract ideas. This impairment in thinking is not constant or irreversible. In the beginning stages of schizophrenia many times the only way it can be recognized is during the time that a patient may exhibit severe anxiety. Schizophrenia is most easily identified in the early stages, but may also occur in later stages. In later stages the original symptoms may just disappear. The rate of schizophrenia seems to vary in different societies. The urban societies show a higher occurrence than agricultural societies, but schizophrenia occurs in all societies. In Benjamin B. Lahey's textbook on Psychology (2001) it is stated that schizophrenia is a rare disorder that affects a...