Schizophrenia: A Very Short Introduction

Schizophrenia: A Very Short Introduction

Schizophrenia: A Very Short Introduction

Schizophrenia: A Very Short Introduction

Synopsis

The schizophrenic patient presented to the public in sensational press reports and lurid films bears little resemblance to reality of the illness. This book describes what schizophrenia is really like, how the illness progresses, and the treatments that have been applied. It also summarizes the most up-to-date knowledge available about the biological bases of this disorder. Finally it attempts to give some idea of what it is like to have schizophrenia and what this disorder tells us about the relationship between mind and brain.

Excerpt

Schizophrenia is the term applied to a severe form of mental disorder that exists in all countries and cultures and is more prevalent than you might think. At a rough estimate, about 1 person in 100 may experience this disorder at some time in their lives. This lifetime risk of 1% is about the same as that for developing rheumatoid arthritis; many of us will know of someone with this much more visible disorder. Not only is the emotional experience of schizophrenia extremely distressing both for the sufferer and for his or her family and friends, the monetary cost of schizophrenia is also severe. In terms of care and treatment, the annual cost of schizophrenia in the UK in the early 1990s was £397 million, while the indirect costs in terms of lost production were conservatively estimated for the same period as £1.7 billion.

Since most of us have no direct experience of mental disorders, our knowledge of schizophrenia often comes from the popular press. Articles about mental illness are quite frequent, but sufferers and their carers are nearly always portrayed in a negative light. The tabloid papers in particular concentrate on individual cases involving violent death. These can be suicides in striking circumstances, such as the man who entered the lions den at London Zoo and was severely mauled, or unmotivated murders like the case of Christopher Clunis who stabbed to death a total stranger . . .

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