Schizophrenia - What Is It ?

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Schizophrenia - What Is It ?

Have you ever heard the disease called “schizophrenia”?

Well let me first explain in brief, it is a kind of mental disorder which drives into the world of hallucination. I mean if a person suffering from schizophrenia he/she fails to identify the difference between the genuine personality and the fake personality, the talks to other personality or afraid of the other personality which in reality does not exist. Schizophrenic disorders are characterized in general by fundamental and characteristic distortions of thinking and perception, and by inappropriate or blunted affect (reduction in the intensity of emotional expression). A research has been carried which says, Schizophrenia strikes 1% of the world's population at some point in their lives. It affects people from all walks of life, usually young people between the ages of 15 and 30. Not everyone will experience the same symptoms, but then there are some symptoms, such as hearing voices, are common to many. It is said that, Schizophrenia alters the way people think and feel, so that perceptions may be changed and thinking can be disturbed. This is very disabling for them and very distressing for their families.

Now let see the archives of Schizophrenia: The word schizophrenia is less than 100 years old, but the illness has probably accompanied mankind through its history. Schizophrenia can be traced in written documents to the old Pharaonic Egypt. However, recent studies into the ancient Greek and Roman literature showed that whilst the general population probably had an awareness of psychotic disorders, there was no recorded condition that would meet the modern diagnostic criteria for schizophrenia in these societies. This nonspecific concept of madness has been around for many thousands of years, but schizophrenia was classified as a distinct mental disorder by psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin only in 1887.

Classification of schizophrenia

According to the research carried by European description, schizophrenia is classified as

1. Paranoid Schizophrenia,
2. Hebephrenic Schizophrenia,
3. Catatonic Schizophrenia,
4. Undifferentiated Schizophrenia,
5. Post-Schizophrenic Depression,
6. Residual Schizophrenia,
7. And Simple Schizophrenia.

Among these the most common form of schizophrenia is Paranoid Schizophrenia. It is clinically characterized by constant, often paranoid, delusions, usually accompanied by hallucinations, particularly of the auditory variety, and perceptual disturbances. Disturbances of affect (emotional expression), volition, and speech, and catatonic (purposeless agitation) symptoms, are not prominent.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

In schizophrenia, clear consciousness and intellectual capacity are usually maintained, although certain cognitive deficits may evolve in the course of time. The disturbance involves the most basic functions that give the normal person a feeling of individuality, uniqueness, and self-direction. The most intimate thoughts, feelings, and acts are often felt to be known to or shared by others. This is rationalized in the mind as being the influence of supernatural forces. The individual may see himself or herself as the pivot of all that happens. Perception is frequently disturbed in other ways: colors or sounds may seem unduly vivid or altered in quality, and irrelevant features of ordinary things may appear more important than the whole object or situation. Perplexity is also common early on, and, frequently, leads to a belief that everyday situations possess a special, usually sinister, meaning intended uniquely for the individual. Thus thinking becomes vague, elliptical, and obscure, and its expression in speech sometimes incomprehensible. Breaks and interpolations in the train of thought are frequent, and thoughts may seem to be withdrawn by some outside agency. Mood is characteristically shallow, capricious, or incongruous. If present, the onset of catatonia may be acute, with seriously disturbed behavior, or insidious, with a gradual development of odd ideas and conduct. Both the sexes are approximately equally affected by schizophrenia, but the onset tends to be later in women.

To diagnose schizophrenia, one has first to rule out any medical illness that may be the actual cause of the behavioral changes. The diagnosis will best be made by a licensed mental health professional (preferably a psychiatrist) who can evaluate the patient and carefully sort through a variety of mental illnesses that might look alike at the initial examination.

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