Parts of the Brain


Structural Abnormalities in the Schizophrenic Brain

How age effects the schizophrenic brain

How gender effects schizophrenia



Click here for Project Information

What is Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is an incredibly disabling disease. It is also among the world’s top ten causes of long term disability (Mueser and McGurk, 2004). The word schizophrenia comes from the Greek words schizo, meaning fractured or broken, and phrenia, meaning mind (Allen, et al, 2001). Schizophrenia is a brain disease that changes a person’s ability to perceive reality and think rationally. Schizophrenics will often hear voices. These voices may seem to come from a TV or radio, and sometimes suggest suicide or murder. Schizophrenics may also be paranoid and believe that people are following them or that they have special or magic powers (Allen). Though to most of us this sounds absurd, to the schizophrenic it would seem perfectly normal. There are multiple types of hallucinations in schizophrenia: olfactory, visual, gustatory, and auditory (smells, sights, tastes, and sounds). Auditory hallucinations are most common (Mueser and McGurk). Schizophrenics may also withdraw from most or all social activities.

Because of the nature of the disease, schizophrenia cannot be cured (Mueser and McGurk). However, it can be treated using such tools as anti-psychotic drugs (Columbia Encyclopedia, ed 6, 2000) and, sometimes, psychotherapy. Some patients are kept in hospitals for basic needs like hygiene while their symptoms are being treated. (Columbia) The cost of treating schizophrenia is very high, reaching 44.9 billion dollars in America in 1994 alone (Mueser and McGurk). Just under 1% of the population has schizophrenia, (Mueser and McGurk) but the cause of the disease is still unknown, though genes and illness during pregnancy appear to be involved (Columbia).