The Mental Illness Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia is a group of severe brain disorders in which people interpret reality
abnormally. Schizophrenia may result in some combination of hallucinations, delusions and
disordered thinking and behavior. The ability of people with schizophrenia to function normally
and to care for them tends to deteriorate over time.
There are five types of schizophrenia.
Paranoid schizophrenia: The individual is preoccupied
with one or more delusions or many auditory hallucinations but does not have symptoms of
disorganized schizophrenia. Disorganized schizophrenia: Prominent symptoms are disorganized
speech and behavior, as well as flat or inappropriate affect. The person does not have enough
symptoms to be characterized as catatonic schizophrenic. Catatonic schizophrenia: The person
with this type of schizophrenia primarily has at least two of the following symptoms: difficulty
moving, resistance to moving, excessive movement, abnormal movements, and/or repeating what
others say or do. Undifferentiated schizophrenia: This is characterized by episodes of two or
more of the following symptoms: delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech or behavior,
catatonic behavior or negative symptoms, but the individual does not qualify for a diagnosis of
paranoid, disorganized, or catatonic type of schizophrenia. Residual schizophrenia: While the
full-blown characteristic positive symptoms of schizophrenia (those that involve an excess of
normal behavior, such as delusions, paranoia, or heightened sensitivity) are absent, the sufferer
has less severe forms of the disorder or has only negative symptoms (symptoms characterized by
a decrease in function, such as withdrawal, disinterest, and not speaking).
This history of schizophrenia can be traced back to documents written by the paranoiac
Egyptians as far back as 2000B.C. In these texts thought disturbances are mentioned that are
commonly seen in schizophrenia. At that time it was thought that these mental disturbances were
caused by demons and evil spirits and could be cured by exorcising. There are Greek, Roman,
and Chinese scripts that describe signs and symptoms of schizophrenia.
is an illness that ranks high in the public's consciousness, but low in our
collective understanding. There are a number of myths about people with schizophrenia,
generally based on the underlying false assumption that the experiences of schizophrenia are the
same from person to person. Myth: People with schizophrenia have "split personalities." This is