What is Schizofrenia?
Schizophrenia is the label given to a group of psychotic disorders characterized by distortion of reality, withdrawal from social interaction and disorganization of thought. The word schizophrenia is derived from the Greek words for to split (schidzein) and mind (phren). This splitting is related to fragmenting of the thought processes.
Schizophrenia occurs in all cultures, also those that are remote from western civilization and its stress. Research in the United States has shown that about six out of every 1,000 people receive care for schizophrenia. Because the disorder often reoccurs and because the patient's suffer long from it, half of all psychiatric hospital beds are occupied by patients suffering schizophrenia.
|"Schizophrenia is a collective noun for diseases that are characterized by withdrawal from reality."|
Schizophrenia usually appears in young adulthood. Sometimes the disorder develops slowly, but sometimes it has a sudden onset. These are often a result of stress with people living an isolated life. Whether the disorder develops slowly or suddenly, the signs are many and varied. The primary characteristics can be summarized as the following, although not every schizophrenic person will show all of them:
The results of schizophrenia are many and varied, but these are the main characteristics.
- Disturbance of thought and attention; people suffering schizophrenia often cannot think logically and as the result of this they cannot write a story, because every word they write down might make sense, but are meaningless in relation to each other, and they cannot keep their attention to the writing.
- Disturbances of perception; during acute schizophrenic episodes, people say that the world appears different to them, their bodies appear longer, colors seem more intense and they cannot recognize themselves in a mirror.
- Disturbances of affect; schizophrenic persons fail to show 'normal' emotions. For example, a patient may smile while talking over tragic events
- Withdrawal from reality; during schizophrenic episodes, the individual becomes absorbed in his inner thoughts and fantasies. The self-absorption may be so intense that the individual may not know the month or day or the place where he is staying.
- Delusions and hallucinations; in most cases the former characteristics are accompanied by delusions. The most common are beliefs that other persons are trying to control his thoughts, he may become suspicious of friends (paranoid), this is the reason why Robert Kennedy was assassinated.
Not everybody has the same opinion about the causes of schizophrenia, but some factors have certainly influence on schizophrenics.
Disturbed home life and early trauma are frequently found in the background of schizophrenics. The early death of one or more parents, emotionally disturbed parents and strife between parents are found with greater frequency in the background of schizophrenics.
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