Schizophrenia, A splitting of the mind

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Schizophrenia, A splitting of the mind

Dementia Praecox, the early term for schizophrenia was presented by Emil Kraepelin in 1898. Dementia Praecox included – dementia paranoids, catatonia and hebephrenia. Whilst these different entities are symptomatically very diverse, Kraepelin believed they shared a common core. Kraepelin noted several major symptoms in his patients, these included hallucinations, delusions, negativism, attentional difficulties, stereotyped behaviour and emotional dysfunction. Kraepelin focused on describing schizophrenia and made no attempt to categorise and explain what he saw.

Eugen Bleuler however tried to define the core of the disorder. Bleuler disagreed with Kraepelin on two points. Bleuler believed that the disorder didn’t necessary have an early onset and that the disorder didn’t necessarily lead to total dementia. Since he believed that the disorder didn’t lead to total dementia the term dementia praecox was no longer valid, so in 1908 Bleuler suggested a new term for the condition Schizophrenia. Bleuler had a great influence over the American concept of Schizophrenia. Whilst the European view of Schizophrenia remained relatively narrow.

The American view of schizophrenia broadened significantly during the 20th century, with 80% of patients in the New York State Psychiatric Institute being diagnosed with Schizophrenia in 1952. Adolf Myer argued that diagnostic categories where often to stringent and believed that a more flexible approach to defining Schizophrenia was necessary. Kansnin then found that some patients showed signs schizophrenia combined with symptoms from other disorders. The concept of schizophrenia was also broadened by Hoch who believed that schizophrenia often disguises itself has other disorders. As a result a lot of people who would normally have been diagnosed with personality disorders or neurosis, where diagnosed has having schizophrenia. After the publication of DSM III the American definition moved away from the very broad definition of schizophrenia, to a more controlled approach that meant that less people are now wrongly diagnosed with schizophrenia.

The symptoms of schizophrenia cause suffers problems in several major areas these include: thought, perception, attention, motor behaviour and emotion. Many patients, who are diagnosed with schizophrenia, only have some of the symptoms. Unlike mo...

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...hanism may malfunction or not work. We can guess that stress can trigger schizophrenia because of the EE studies that look at patient relapse rate. Also if we believe that the symptoms are a reflection of the cause it is also not unreasonable to think stress can trigger schizophrenia. Stress is a persons perceived inability to cope with a situation. Therefore they are blaming themselves for their failure to perform. Many schizophrenics experience hallucinations commenting on their actions. This could be caused because they have a problem with their self-image or self esteem caused by stress. If you imagine yourself very stressed maybe at the scene of an accident, you need to do something about the accident, but your finding it difficult to remember what you should do. To avoid panic some people break down complex actions like first aid at the scene of an accident into simpler instructions. For instance at the scene of an accident you would take deep breath then look for danger, check the airways of the injured etc. When you are in a stressful situation you comment on yourself. Maybe schizophrenic hallucination is the same response caused involuntary by a brain malfunction.

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