Schizophrenia
During the 1950s, mentally disordered people who were harmful to society and
themselves could be treated with medications and were able to return safely to their
communities. During the 1980s, the cost of health care increased more than any other
cost in our national economy. As a result, strategic planning has been made to reduce
costs. The political decision made to deinstitutionalize chronic mental patients started
with the appearance of phenothiazine medications. Dramatically reducing the instability
influenced by psychosis, these medications were of great significance to many
individuals with serious mental disorders. At both the state and federal levels,
legislators looked at the high cost of long-term psychiatric hospitalization. Social
scientists guaranteed them that community-based care would be in the best interests of
all concerned: the mentally ill and the general, tax-paying public. It was
believed that a social breakdown syndrome would develop in chronically mentally ill
persons who were institutionalized. The characteristics of this syndrome were
submission to authority, withdrawal, lack of initiative, and excessive dependence on the
institution (Seeds).
Schizophrenia is the most common psychoses in the United States affecting
around one percent of the United States population. It is characterized by a deep
withdrawal from interpersonal relationships and a retreat into a world of fantasy. This
plunge into fantasy results in a loss of contact from reality that can vary from mild to
severe. Psychosis has more than one acceptable definition. The psychoses are
different from other groups of psychiatric disorders in their degree of severity,
withdrawal, alteration in affect, impairment of intellect, and regression (Insight).

In psychotic disorders, the intellect is involved in the actual psychotic process,
resulting in derangement of language, thought, and judgment. Schizophrenia is called
a formal thought disorder. Thinking and understanding of reality are usually severely
impaired. The most severe and prolonged regressions are seen in the psychoses,
regression. There is a falling back to earlier behavioral levels. In schizophrenia this
may include returning to primitive forms of behavior, such as curling up into a fetal
position, eating with ones hands, and so forth. The symptoms of schizophrenia usually
occur during adolescence or early adulthood, except for paranoid schizophrenia, which
usually has a later onset. The process of schizophrenia is often slow, with the
exception of catatonia, which may have an abrupt onset. As an adolescent, a person
who later develops schizophrenia is often antisocial with others, lonely, and depressed.
Plans for the future may appear to others as vague or unrealistic (Seeds).

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It is possible that there may be a preschizophrenic phase a year or two before
the disorder is diagnosed. This phase may include neurotic symptoms such as acute or
chronic anxiety, phobias, obsessions, and compulsions or may reveal dissociative
features. As anxiety mounts, indications of a thought disorder may appear. An
adolescent may complain of difficulty with concentration and with the ability to complete
school work or job-related work. Over time there is severe deterioration of work along
with the deterioration of the ability to cope with the environment. Complains such as
mind wandering and needing to devote more time to maintaining ones thoughts are
heard. Finally, the ability to keep out unwanted intrusions into ones thoughts becomes
impossible. As a result, the person finds that his or her mind becomes so confused and
thoughts so distracted, that the ability to have ordinary conversations with others is lost (Insight).

The person may initially feel that something strange or wrong is going on.
He or she misinterprets things going on in the environment and may give mystical or
symbolic meanings to ordinary events. The schizophrenic may think that certain colors
hold special powers or a thunderstorm is a message from God. The person often
mistakes other peoples actions or words as signs of hostility or evidence of harmful
intent. As the disease progresses, the person suffers from strong feelings of rejection,
lack of self-respect, loneliness, and feelings of worthlessness. Emotional and physical
withdrawal increase feelings of isolation, as does an inability to trust or sociate with
others. The withdrawal may become severe, and withdrawal from reality may be
noticeable from hallucinations, delusions, and odd mannerisms. Some schizophrenics
think their thoughts are being controlled by others or that their thoughts are being
broadcast to the world. Others think that people are out to harm them or are spreading
rumors about them. Voices are usually heard in the form of commands or belittling
statements about his or her character. These voices may seem to appear from outside
the room, from electrical appliances, or from