schizophrenia


schizophrenia

Any of a group of severe mental disorders that have in common symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions, blunted emotions, disorganized thinking, and withdrawal from reality. Five main types are recognized: the paranoid, characterized by delusions of persecution or grandeur combined with unrealistic, illogical thinking and frequent auditory hallucinations; the disorganized (hebephrenic), characterized by disordered speech and behaviour and shallow or inappropriate emotional responses; the catatonic, characterized by motor inflexibility or stupor along with mutism, echolalia, or other speech abnormalities; the simple or undifferentiated type, which conforms to basic definitions of schizophrenia but does not exhibit particular behaviours in the aforementioned types; and the residual type, which is a chronic stage indicating advancement toward later-stage schizophrenia. Schizophrenia seems to occur in 0.5–1% of the general population, and more than half of those so diagnosed will eventually recover. There is strong evidence that genetic inheritance plays a role, but no single cause of schizophrenia has been identified. Stressful life experiences may help trigger its onset. Treatment consists of drug therapy and counseling.

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