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January 5, 2012

What is Schizophrenia?

People with schizophrenia may hear voices or believe that other people are reading their minds, controlling their thoughts, or plotting against them. These experiences are terrifying and can cause fearfulness, withdrawal, or extreme agitation. The chronic, severe, and disabling psychiatric disorder that we now call schizophrenia can be traced in written documents like the Egyptian Book of the Dead as far back as 2000 B.C. Many schizophrenics do not make sense when they talk-sometimes displaying word salad: speech-here is an example: (Psychologist reads Patient Carl transcript 12 - 15 seconds. Eugen Bleuler first coined the term 'schizophrenia' in 1911 and defined the disorder with his four "A's": blunted Affect or diminished emotional response; loosening of Associations or reduced understanding of relationships; Ambivalence-an inability to make decisions; and Autism-a preoccupation with one's own thoughts and reduced awareness of external events. The psychotic symptoms associated with schizophrenia-hallucinations and delusions-tend to emerge earlier in men than in women. For men, symptoms appear in their mid to late-20's, while for women, schizophrenia symptoms surface in their mid-20's to early-30's. Symptoms don't typically occur after age 45 and only rarely before puberty. Although schizophrenia is a serious illness, the outlook for those diagnosed with the disorder has improved over the last 30 years. There is still no cure, but effective treatments have been developed, and many people with schizophrenia improve enough to lead independent, satisfying lives. If someone you love has symptoms of schizophrenia, please consult a mental health professional. Want to learn more? Check out other videos and sources on this site for more information.

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Last Updated:
December 20, 2012