Definition and Description
Schizophrenia is defined as a severe, often chronic brain disease that can make a person unable to function at work or school, maintain relationships, and take adequate care of their personal needs. It is believed that schizophrenia is the result of a disruption in basic brain functioning, which in effect leads to loss of touch with reality. is a psychotic disorder, or a group of disorders, marked by severely impaired thinking, emotions and behaviors. Schizophrenia patients typically experience enhanced perceptions of sounds, colors and other features of their normal environment. Patients suffering with this disease experience a variety of different psychotic symptoms, which include, hallucinations, delusions, disorganized speech, bizarre and disorganized behavior. According to World Health Organization (WHO) the brain dysfunction may also lead to impaired thinking, blunted emotions, loss of motivation, interest or pleasure. Together, these effects of the disease make social interactions severely difficult or near impossible.
Schizophrenia in adults can be divided into three phases/stages. According to the World Health Organization, within the acute phase, the patient has an overt loss of contact with reality. This can also be referred to as psychotic episode. The second phase is stabilization, where the initial psychotic symptoms have been brought under control, however, the patient is at risk of relapsing if treatment is interrupted. The third and final phase is the maintenance phase, this is where the patient is relatively stable and can be kept indefinitely on anti-psychotic medications. However, it is important to state that within the maintenance phase, relapses are not unusual and patients do not always return to full functioning once they've been diagnosed and treated for schizophrenia.
It is believed that schizophrenia was first called dementia praecox by Emil Kraeplin in 1896. He described the disorder as an independent disease with onset at a young age. Symptoms of dementia praecox included reoccurring delusions and hallucinations resulting in dependent existence. In the year 1911, Eugene Bleuler renamed dementia praecox schizophrenia.. The word schizophrenia originates from the Greek words 'schizo' meaning slit, and 'phrene' meaning mind. He was the first to describe the symptoms as “positive” and “negative”. It is said that Bleuler changed the name to schizophrenia because he believed Kraeplin's name was misleading as the illness was not a dementia, due tot he fact that it did not always lead to mental deterioration and could sometimes occur late as well as early in life.
The exact causes of schizophrenia are unknown, but research suggests that a combination of physical, genetic, psychological and environmental factors can cause people to develop the condition. It is believed that some people may be prone to schizophrenia, and a stressful or emotional life might trigger a psychotic episode. According to the National Health Service (NHS) things that increase the chances of schizophrenia developing include genetics, brain development, neurotransmitters and pregnancy and birth complications. Genetic causes of schizophrenia – schizophrenia has a strong hereditary component with a parent or sibling suffering from the disorder have a 10 percent chance of developing the disorder, as opposed to the 1 percent of the general population (according to NHS). However, they emphasize that schizophrenia is only influenced by genetics and not determined by it. Despite studies showing that the disease runs in families, about 60% of schizophrenics have no family members with the disorder. Environmental causes of schizophrenia – twin and adoption studies suggest that inherited genes make a person vulnerable to schizophrenia and then environmental factors act on this vulnerability to trigger the disorder. As far as environmental factors...
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