Dostoevsky: Psychiatric Genius?

Topics: Schizophrenia, Psychosis, Mental disorder Pages: 4 (1148 words) Published: December 2, 2012
The book Crime and Punishment and its author, Fyodor Dostoevsky, both came many years before their time. In the book, Dostoevsky clearly describes the medical disorders we now know today as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and dissociative identity disorder which is also known as multiple personality disorder. The book was first published in 1866, however, schizophrenia was first described officially in 1887 by Dr. Emile Kraepelin and not given the name “schizophrenia” until Eugene Bleuler coined the term in 1911 (The History of Schizophrenia). And it was not until the late 19th and early 20th century that Pierre Janet coined the term dissociative identity (Pendergrast). Bipolar Disorder was also a relatively new disorder being that it was officially described in 1854 (“A Brief History of Bipolar Disorder”). The character of Raskolnikov is a good example of these three disorders because of the way he acts towards others or towards himself and then suddenly has a change of feelings or mindset.

Schizophrenia is defined as a common type of psychosis, characterized by abnormalities in perception, content of thought, and thought processes (hallucinations and delusions) and by extensive withdrawal of interest from other people and the outside world, with excessive focusing on one's own mental life (WebMD LLC). In the beginning of the book, the narrator talks about how Raskolnikov has “become so completely absorbed in himself, and isolated from his fellows that he dreaded meeting, not only his landlady, but anyone at all” (Dostoevsky 1). This is the first sign of schizophrenia that Dostoevsky shows in Raskolnikov, it is obvious that Raskolnikov has become isolated and does not want to be around any other people. Next, Raskolnikov’s illness is almost completely caused by his hallucinations, delusions, and dreams. This is seen in part two, chapter one after Raskolnikov has committed the murders “He sat down on the sofa in exhaustion and was at once shaken by another...
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