What Is Schizophrenia?

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What is Schizophrenia? According to the National Institute of Mental Health, schizophrenia is a chronic, severe, and disabling class of disorders in which severe distortions of reality occur (What is Schizophrenia?, n.d.; Feldman, 2013). Derived from the Greek words schizo and phren, Schizophrenia means split mind and describes the fragmented thinking of people with the disorder. (Burton, 2012). Affecting approximately one percent of Americans, Schizophrenia is seen equally in both men and women and occurs in all ethnic groups (What is Schizophrenia?, n.d.). The term Schizophrenia was only coined approximately 100 years ago by Swiss psychiatrist Paul Eugen Bleuler; however, there is evidence that the symptoms of schizophrenia predate this coinage. Although nonspecific, the concept of madness has been seen throughout history. Instances of depression, dementia, and thought disturbances can be seen in the ancient Egyptian Ebers Papyrus and there is archeological evidence that people of the Stone Age tried to presumably release evil spirits through burr holes. Until the 18th century, mental illness or madness was seen as a punishment of god. After this period, mental illness was seen as a result of exposure to psychological stress. Originally termed ‘dementia praecox’ or dementia of early life, Schizophrenia was first identified by Dr. Emile Kraepelin in 1887 and thought to only occur in younger people and lead to mental deterioration. However, Dr. Bleuler believed that the

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