schizophrenia 2 - "In my senior year of high school, I...

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I did not realize the significance of the changes at the time, and I think others denied them, but looking back I can see that they were the earliest signs of illness. I became increasingly withdrawn and sullen. I felt alienated and lonely and hated everyone. I felt as if there were a huge gap between me and the rest of the world; everybody seemed so distant from me." This excerpt describes part of Esse Leete 20-year battle with schizophrenia. She committed herself to leading the fullest life her disease will allow and to educating others about mental illness. Schizophrenia is a very serious disease, but through defining schizophrenia and getting the patient help and treatment a schizophrenic can lead a full life like any other person. Schizophrenia is defined as any of a group of psychotic reactions characterized by withdrawal from reality with highly variable affective, behavioral and intellectual disturbances by the American Heritage Dictionary. No definition of schizophrenia can adequately describe all people with this illness. Schizophrenia is an extremely complex mental illness. It is clear that schizophrenia is a disease which makes it difficult for the person with the illness to decide what is real and what is not (Swados 5). It is also clear that this brain disease affects normal, intelligent people in all walks of life. There are six concrete phrases that describe schizophrenia: it is a real disease, has concrete and specific symptoms, is different from other mental illnesses, is the result of flaws brain biochemistry, may be treated by specific antipsychotic drugs, and is almost always treatable. Scientist are unsure of the causes of schizophrenia, although research is progressing rapidly. Scientist are almost certain that schizophrenia has more than one cause. One cause could be a chemical imbalance. An imbalance of the brain's chemical system has long been suspected as the main cause of the illness (Youth 2). A second cause could be stress. Most authorities disagree that severe stress can cause the illness. Stress can however, worsen the symptoms when the illness is already present. A third cause could possibly be genetic predisposition. Genetic transmission has yet to be proven even though schizophrenia tends to run is some families(Youth 3). For example, schizophrenia occurs in 1% of the general population but children with one schizophrenic parent have a 10% chance of developing the illness. When both parents have schizophrenia the percentage of risk rises to approximately 40% (Youth 3). Scientists today think that in some types of schizophrenia, the illness may ride
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schizophrenia 2 - "In my senior year of high school, I...

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