There are many ways to define what schizophrenia is, not only by what the illness truly is to the different forms of schizophrenia, which includes paranoid schizophrenia, catatonic schizophrenia, disorganized schizophrenia and undifferentiated schizophrenia. I will be focusing on what schizophrenia in general is: what the true definition of this common mental illness.
The main source of diagnosing an individual with schizophrenia is called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, which is also called the DSM-IV. Schizophrenia is a disease of the brain, which can be one of the most disabling and emotionally devastating illnesses known to humans. It is also said that the brains of people diagnosed with schizophrenia may show some form of structural abnormality, compared to people that have a "normal" brain. .
Schizophrenia deals with an individual who is hearing voices or seeing things that are not around that another person affected. These are called hallucinations. Schizophrenia also includes delusions, such as grandiose delusions, in which the individual thinks that he or she is rich, where they might get a bank loan for millions of dollars to start a business or purchase land or the thought that he or she is God. The individual may also show signs of disorganized speech, negative symptoms or completely disorganized thought processes for at least one month. A schizophrenic is diagnosed if they have been having difficulty for six months, which is causing occupational dysfunction or significant social dysfunction. For the most part, a person needs to show two of the symptoms to be diagnosed with schizophrenia. .
The more that I learn about the mental illness of schizophrenia, the more I realize that it truly is a devastating illness not only for the individual with the diagnosis, but the family and friends of the individual that must live with the disease.