Symptoms and Characteristics of Schizophrenia



             Schizophrenia is a brain disorder that affects approximately one percent of the population. One out of every hundred people will at some point be diagnosed as schizophrenic. This syndrome was first described as a single disorder by German psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin in 1896. He called it dementia praecox, dementia referring to intellectual deterioration and praecox to the fact that the symptoms first occur early in life. Later Swiss psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler renamed the disorder Schizophrenia to express his view that a prominent feature of the disorder is a splitting of psychic functions. (Bernheim p.5) .

             This disease is characterized by a variety of symptoms, including loss of contact with reality, bizarre behavior, disorganized thinking and speech, decreased emotional expressiveness and social withdrawal. Usually only some of these symptoms occur in any one person. The disease typically occurs between the ages of sixteen and thirty. Suicide rate among schizophrenics can be as high as eight percent. The illness may begin abruptly, but it usually develops slowly over months or years. (Bernheim p.7) The disease has a wide range of symptoms, ranging from delusion to hallucination. Another way to look at this definition is the Splitting off of portions of the psyche function. Meaning that the ideas and feelings are isolated from one another. This does not mean split personalities, but the separation of personality traits rather than a split into two or more separated logical personalities. On a social level, the split personality theory has been accepted as well as the multiple personality syndromes. (Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia) .

             Two Schizophrenic symptoms are positive and negative. Positive symptoms, not positive in the way of good, but rather indicate an excess or distortion of normal functions. This symptom includes, hallucinations, delusions or a formal thought disorder.

Related Essays: