History of Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia was first recognized as a mental illness in 1887 by Dr. Emile Kraepelin, though a look at history shows us plenty of indication that the disease has been around as long as men have walked on the planet. The history of schizophrenia is long and varied. In fact, the schizophrenia has been described in writings that date back as far as Ancient Egypt-as much as two millennia before Christ.

The history of schizophrenia in Egypt includes extensive writings in the Book of Hearts (a chapter in the Ebers Papyrus, the most famous and involved writings on the medicinal practices of the ancient Egyptians). The Egyptians wrote about dementia, thought disturbances and depression and attributed them to diseases of the heart (which seems to have been synonymous with the mind). These mental illnesses were attributed to a number of things including poison and demons.

The next major development in the history of schizophrenia comes from Dr. Emile Kraepelin; a German physician was the first to divide mental disorders into categories. What we now call schizophrenia was called "dementia praecox" by Dr. Kraepelin. Dr. Kraepelin was also the first to separate "dementia praecox" and manic depression. He believed that dementia praecox was a disease mainly of the brain and, in particular, a version of dementia. He gave it the name he did to make sure it was recognized as its own disease and not just an early manifestation of "regular" dementia which usually occurs much later in life.

The term "schizophrenia" was coined by Eugen Bleuler, a Swiss psychiatrist in the year 1911. "Schizophrenia", literally translated means "split mind" and even though he did not mean for the term to be used as a description of multiple personalities, the two diseases are often confused by the general populace. Bleuler changed the disease's name from "dementia praecox" because he felt that "dementia praecox" was a misnomer as the disease is not, technically speaking, dementia at all.

The history of schizophrenia does not stop with the most recent naming of the disease as the disease itself has been re-diagnosed a number of times since 1911 as scientists and doctors learned more about it.

Today the DSM-IV, the primary manual used by psychiatrists for diagnosing mental illnesses, divides schizophrenia into five major categorical types. These types are undifferentiated schizophrenia, paranoid schizophrenia, catatonic schizophrenia, disorganized schizophrenia and residual schizophrenia. Dr. Kraepelin is responsible for the disorganized, paranoid and catatonic categories. Unfortunately, the categories delineated by the DSM-IV are not actually helpful in the treatment of the disorder or in guessing at the outcome of the disease.

The most recent development in the history of schizophrenia involves the classification of the disease's symptoms into two categories: positive and negative. Researchers have also realized that the disease gets worse over time and that it often coincides with other mental illnesses. Most likely more and more discoveries are going to be made about this disease. The history of schizophrenia is varied and its future will be al

Signs of Schizophrenia Tip #1

Schizophrenia is not the same thing as having multiple personality disorder. In multiple personality disorder a person has a number of independent identities that all share one host body. Typically one of the personalities is dominant and the others exist under the surface. With Schizophrenia, there could be independent personalities but the person suffering from the disease believes that these identities exist outside of him or herself.


Signs of Schizophrenia Tip #2

There are different types of schizophrenia. The most widely known is that of paranoid schizophrenia in which the schizophrenic believes that there are people who are out to "get" him (or her). Commonly the patient associates himself with an elite group and believes that it is his membership with that group that has made him a target of others.


Signs of Schizophrenia Tip #3

Schizophrenia is normally treated with anti-psychotic drugs. There are new drugs being developed all the time. Other treatments include Electro Convulsive Therapy in which the patient is driven to convulsions by receiving a series of shocks to the brain. This treatment is thought to fix the electrochemical balance of the brain.


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