A Mental Illness, Characterized by a Range of Symptoms

             Schizophrenia is a mental illness, characterized by a range of symptoms. Most common symptoms include delusions and hallucinations. Additional symptoms of schizophrenia found in humans include: bizarre behavior, loss of contact with reality, disorganized thinking and speaking, decreased emotional expressiveness, social withdrawal and memory loss. When a person smiles at another person, the usual response is to smile back. When a schizophrenic person sees one's smile, he/she wonders, "Why are they laughing at me?” Schizophrenics think that everyone is against them, causing everything to be rarely funny. Unlike other mental illnesses, schizophrenia has a fading effect on the person's life. They soon lose the ability to distinguish the difference between real and unreal experiences, also called delusions. Lori recalling how she killed her dog, beating it to death, is an example of delusion. It actually happened in her head, and only in her head. The illness takes over and shuts them down until they cannot operate, causing a both a high number of suicides and attempted suicides. People with schizophrenia usually exhibit short attention spans and abstract thinking. Also, they are more likely to abuse and/or become dependent on drugs and alcohol. To describe the suffers of schizophrenia, common terms like "mad' and "insane” are used by the outside world .

             Erikson formulated many different, but sequential stages in human development. The first is the "trust versus mistrust” stage. This occurs in the first year of child's life, with the infant gaining a sense of trust. Responsive and sensitive caregivers meet their basic needs. Lori was treated well by her parents as an infant. She also developed within the following stages successfully. Stage two is "autonomy versus shame & doubt”, which occurs in the second year of infancy. Infants start to find that they can complete small without the caregiver's assistance.

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