Many people outside the mental health profession believe that schizophrenia refers to a "split personality". Possessing multiple personalities is a very common result of suffering from a phycosis. The word "schizophrenia" comes from the Greek schizo, meaning split and phrenia refers to the diaphragm (once thought to be the location of a person's mind and soul.) When the word "schizophrenia" was established by European psychiatrists, they meant to describe a shattering, or breakdown, of basic psychological functions. The first 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." Eugene Bleuler, a famous Swiss psychiatrist, coined the term "schizophrenia," referring to what he called the "splitting of the various psychic functions" (Honig).
There have been many theories to explain what causes schizophrenia. Heredity, stress, medical illness, and physical injury to the brain are all thought to be factors but research has not yet pinpointed the specific combination of factors that produce the disease (Sinclair). While schizophrenia can affect anyone at any point in life, it is somewhat more common in those persons who are genetically predisposed to the disease (Torrey). Studies have shown that approximately 12% of the offspring will be schizophrenic if one parent has the disorder and 50% if both parents have the disorder. This may be due to the fact that the offspring are raised in an environment other than normal, although statistics from adoption agencies show that these rates are more affected by genes... [continues]
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