Schizophrenia was first discovered by Dr. Emile Kraepelin in 1887 and is thought to have been an illness that has followed mankind throughout the ages. The doctor called the symptoms that people with schizophrenia exhibited " dementia praecox", but this was later changed to schizophrenia because the name of the illness was mislead as a form of dementia. Most believe that schizophrenia is a disorder not unlike bipolar disorder but this is a common misconception as the meaning of the word schizophrenia or " split mind" has nothing to do with multiple personalities.
The causes of schizophrenia are unknown but some appear to be caused by changes in chemicals in the brain but can also be caused by genetics, environmental factors, stressful experiences and some recreational drugs. The life expectancy for those with the disorder is 12 to 15 years less than those without it, mostly caused by a five percent increased suicide rate.
Symptoms include such things as hallucinations that come in a variety of types; auditory, tactile, visual, olfactory, and gustatory. These can manifest as things such as hearing voices talking to them of calling them. Other symptoms include catatonia, paranoia, agitation, muteness, and inability to perceive reality. Those with this disorder also have social troubles such as lack of desire to form relationships, inability to feel pleasure and self isolation.
The most clinically proven ways to treat schizophrenia are antipsychotic medications used to battle psychosis and psychosocial intervention meetings. These treatments cannot cure the disorder but can help greatly reduce symptoms like hallucinations and increase the living conditions of the patient such as their social interactions and relationships. Overtime some patients can learn to live with the symptoms that aren't suppressed by the medications and develop ways to deal with them.
The scientific community, specifically the National Institute of Mental Health are still developing new treatments for mental disorders and is looking into the relations between the other causes of the illness such as genetics.They also are studying the structure of the human brain and its' functions. Scans and tests are being used to look for connections in genes that control the brains functions as well.