Ever since the dawn of written communication, there
have been accounts of "crazy" people, those who seemed to
have trouble focusing
and live in a world all their own.
Today science knows better than to just classify someone
as "crazy". Advanced imaging technology and
experimentation has led to much greater knowledge of the
brain and it's inner workings. Many of those were "crazy"
in history actually suffered from a psychological disease
known as schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia is actually a group of psychotic
disorders. Based on their distinct symptoms, there are
four general subtypes of Schizophrenia: Paranoid,
Catatonic, Disorganized, and Undifferentiated. Paranoid
Schizophrenia is the most common, and possesses much of
the symptoms that a stereotypical Schizophrenic would
The symptoms of Schizophrenia are grouped as Positive
and Negative. Positive symptoms are not so called because
they indicate something good, but rather they show the
presence of unusual behaviors. One positive symptom is
hallucinations. Paranoid Schizophrenics often have
auditory hallucinations such as hearing voices. Delusions
are also prominent positive symptoms. These are distorted
thoughts and false realities perceived by the
Schizophrenic, who might not be able to differentiate
between them and actual reality. Other common positive
symptoms are disorganized speech and behavior,
characterized by out-of-place silliness and nonsensical
movements. Negative symptoms indicate a deficit of normal
functioning. Alogia is "poverty of speech"; Patients give
slow brief responses to questions and seem as if the
thoughts behind their words are slowed down. The flat
affect is the absence of emotion in expressions and
responses. Those suffering will likely have a single
constant facial expression and will show little or no body
language. Avolition is characterized by apathy. It is
the inability to work towards goals such as passing a test
or cleaning one's body.
This psychologically crippling disease affects no
single group with a majority; it has been observed in
every major country, culture, race, and social class.
Schizophrenia is equally likely in men and women and
affects approximately one percent of the entire world
population. Symptoms are usually first noticed between
the ages of 16 and 30 and it is unlikely to see
preliminary symptoms after the age of 40.
Paranoid Schizophrenia is the most well-known subtype
and has the best prognoses for recovery. Like other
subtypes, it is classified by it's distinct positive and
negative symptoms. One prominent positive symptom of
Paranoid Schizophrenia is the delusion of persecution.
This is the feeling that a person or people are "out to
get you". Auditory Hallucinations are also common. The
DSM-IV, a guide to psychological disorders, defines
Paranoid Schizophrenia as the "Preoccupation with one or
more systematized delusions or with frequent auditory
hallucinations related to a single theme. Notably, the
DSM-IV also defines Paranoid Schizophrenia as not
including incoherence or grossly disorganized behavior.
This means that one suffering will still have their
intellectual functioning at least relatively intact.
Paranoid Schizophrenia is unique next to the other
subtypes because those affected will not necessarily be
acting in a noticeably disorganized or chaotic manner like
those suffering from Catatonic or Disorganized
What exactly causes Schizophrenia is not known;
however, Because this is a common disease there has been
much research into it and several possible factors have
been observed. Genetics is one important factor because
there is strong evidence that...
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