Schizophrenia, A splitting of the mind Essay

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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
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The symptoms of schizophrenia can be divided into two categories, positive and negative symptoms.

Positive symptoms include disorganised speech, hallucinations, delusions and bizarre behaviour. Disorganised speech also known has formal thought disorder. It refers to the problems that a patient has in organising speech in a manner the listener can understand. A patients speech can be made difficult because they are incoherent and whilst the patient makes repeated references to central ideas, the images and fragments of thought are not connected. Speech can also become disorganised through loose association or derailment, in which case the patient may have more success communicating to the listener but they have difficulty sticking to one subject. The disorganisation of thought seems more central to schizophrenia than the disorganisation of speech. Many schizophrenics are subject to delusions, holding a belief that the rest of society would simply deem as false. Delusions generally take one of eight forms.

1. Somatic passivity – The patient believes they are the unwilling recipient of bodily sensations administered by an external force.
2. Thought insertion – The patient believes that thoughts that are not their own have been inserted to their head.
3. Thought broadcast – The patient believes their thoughts are being broadcast to others around them.

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