When the Cheshire cat, in Lewis Caroll’s Alice in Wonderland gradually disappeared, nothing was left of it except a smile – a most enigmatic smile. It is left to the observer to determine if this smile was there to reassure us as we plumb the mysteries in the science of life and living or to grin mischievously at our ignorance and mock our efforts.
Schizophrenia is just as enigmatic as the eery smile of the Cheshire cat. Schizophrenia is a psychosis; it is a psychiatric condition which describes a form of mental illness in which there is a distortion of how reality is perceived and/or expressed. This distortion, takes the form of a disorganization of thought, hallucinations and delusions.
The term “schizophrenia” was first coined by Eugen Bleuler, a Swiss Psychiatrist, and its etymology is rooted in two Greek words, “schizo” (to split) and “phreno” (mind). Literarily put, Schizophrenia means, “a split mind”; this alludes, to the disorganization of thought and speech which avidly labels this condition and not to the phenomenom of “multiple personalities” as many might be wont to think. This distortion could be severe enough to disrupt normal social functioning.
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