Jeffrey A. Hurt
Abnormal Psychology 203
2 May 1996
Explained and Treatments
Schizophrenia is a devastating brain disorder affecting people worldwide of all
ages, races, and economic levels.
It causes personality disintegration and loss of
contact with reality (Sinclair).
It is the most common psychosis and it is
estimated that one percent of the U.S. population will be diagnosed with it over
the course of their lives (Torrey 2).
Recognition of this disease dates back to the 1800's when Emil Kraepelin concluded
after a comprehensive study of thousands of patients that a "state of dementia was
supposed to follow precociously or soon after the onset of the illness."
Bleuler, a famous Swiss psychiatrist, coined the term "schizophrenia," referring to
what he called the "splitting of the various psychic functions" (Honig 209-211).
Having a "split personality" is often incorrectly associated with schizophrenia.
Possessing multiple personalities on different occasions is a form of neurosis vice
Symptoms most commonly associated with schizophrenia include
delusions, hallucinations, and thought disorder (Torrey 1).
Delusions are irrational ideas, routinely absurd and outlandish.
A patient may
believe that he or she is possessed of great wealth, intellect, importance or
Sometimes the patient may think he is George Washington or another great
historical person (Chapman).
Hallucinations are common, particularly auditory, as voices in the third person or
commenting upon the patient's thoughts and actions (Arieti).
Persons may also hear
music or see nonexistent images (Sinclair).
Schizophrenic thought disorder is the diminished ability to think clearly and
logically (Torrey 2).
Many times, schizophrenics invent new words (called
neologisms) with unique meanings (Chapman).
Often it is apparent by disconnected
and meaningless language that renders the person incapable of participating in
conversation and contributing to his alienation from his family, friends, and
society (Torrey 2).
There appears to be three major subtypes of Schizophrenia:
Delusions, often of prosecution, are prominent in the paranoid type
Hebephrenic schizophrenia is characterized by thought disorder, chaotic
language, silliness, and giggling (Eysenck, Arnold, and Meili 961-962).
catatonic form, the person may sit, stand, or lie in fixed postures or attitudes
for weeks or months on end.
The person may also have a symptom known as "waxy
flexibility" in which the victim will maintain positions of the body in which he is
put for long periods of time, even if they are uncomfortable (Arieti).
There have been many theories to explain what causes schizophrenia.