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Schizophrenia And Bipolar Disorder

            Mental disorders are beginning to represent the number one health problem for the United States and probably for the entire human population. Psychotic thought and mood disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder continue to plague our very existence. These two disorders alone seem to be the most complex and life disturbing illnesses of their kind.
             Emil Kraeplin, a German psychiatrist, recognized schizophrenia as a separate mental illness. He described a distinct disorder in 1896 then called dementia praecox, meaning early insanity. The name we use today came about in 1911 by the Swiss physician Eugen Bleuler. This disturbing thought process has been described as "A loosening of the links between thoughts." Schizophrenia in literal translation means the splitting of the mind.
             The most prominent feature of schizophrenia is the profound disturbance in the way its victims view the world around them. They are in, but not of, the society in which they live. Their minds are divorced from reality. This is seen in every aspect of their thinking and emotions. Schizophrenia is incurable and it is impossible to predict what course the disease will take in any individual or what degree of recovery might be expected.
             The bizarre thoughts and behaviors of schizophrenics usually begin in late adolescence to early adulthood. The syndrome begins with a gradual deterioration of behavior that may be more noticeable to the patient's friends than to parents. Schizophrenia occurs in equal number in males and females, but women, on average, develop the disease four to five years later than men. Rarely does schizophrenia first appear in either sex after the age 40, and almost never after 50. Symptoms may occur suddenly and dramatically, but more often they begin slowly. They grow more prolonged, more obvious, and more disturbing, almost inevitably ending in at least one hospitalization.

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