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Basic Characteristics

  • Description

Schizophrenia is a mental illness affecting approximately 1% of the population worldwide that is marked by the abnormal perception and expression of reality. The illness typically manifests itself in young adulthood in the form of auditory hallucinations, paranoid or bizarre delusions, and disorganized speech and thinking. Schizophrenia has been known to negatively affect social interactions, vocational and instrumental functioning, self care, and recreation. The specific symptoms of schizophrenia may fall into three general categories: positive symptoms, negative symptoms, and cognitive symptoms. Positive symptoms include abnormal thoughts or perceptions such as hallucinations and dellusions as well as disorders of movement. Negative symptoms are typically a lack of speech, emotion, and pleasure in everyday life which are sometimes confused with depression. Cognitive symptoms are deficits in attention, working memory, and executive function. Treatment for Schizophrenia is centered around the elimination of symptoms since the specific causes of the mental illness are still unknown. A variety of antipsychotic medications greatly improve the lives of people suffering with the illness although most will struggle with the disorder their entire life.

  • History

Schizophrenia was first identified as a mental illness by Emile Kraeplin in the 1800s. He used the term "dementia praecox" to label people suffering with what we now consider symptoms of schizophrenia. Eugen Blueler coined the label schizophrenia in 1911 beacause he found the term "dementia praecox" misleading as the disease did not always occur late in life and did not always lead to mental deterioration. The word "schizophrenia" is Greek in origin, schiz (split) and phrene (mind), meaning split mind as to describe the disagreeing thoughts of those with the disorder.

  • References

Barch, 2005. The cognitive neuroscience of schizophrenia. PMID 17716091

Murray et al, 2008. Schizophrenia: From developmental deviance to dopamine dysregulation. PMID 18497092

Mohamed et al, 2008. Relationship of Cognition and Psychopathology to Functional Impairment in Schizophrenia. PMID 18450928

Related Information

  • Indicators (dependent variables, conditions, or contrasts; measurement variables used for analysis) associated with this construct (vote or nominate by editing this page):
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