Schizophrenia - Definition

Schizophrenia (pronounced skit-suh-FREH-nee-uh) is a psychotic disorder or group of psychotic disorders that cause a patient to lose touch with reality. It is marked by severely impaired reasoning and emotional instability and can cause violent behavior.

Schizophrenic patients are often unable to make sense of the signals they receive from the world around them. They imagine objects and events to be very different from what they really are. If untreated, most people with schizophrenia gradually withdraw from the outside world.

Exactly what schizophrenia is has been the source of considerable disagreement among psychiatrists (doctors who deal with mental disorders). There is some thought that the disease psychiatrists call schizophrenia is actually a number of different conditions classified under a single heading.

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