Schizophrenia Definitions

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Bleuler � schizophrenia, ‘split mind’ � created a frenzy of misunderstanding

Schizophrenia A class of psychological disorders characterized by grossly impaired social, emotional, cognitive, and perceptual functioning. Inability to control attention, easily distracted by irrelevant stimuli, cognitive fragmentation, flat or inappropriate emotionality, emotional inappropriateness � bizarre outbursts, social withdrawal, few if any friends, unusual motor behavior (S & R)

Disorganized Type Inappropriate laughter and giggling, silliness, incoherent speech, infantile behavior, strange and sometimes obscene behavior. (Feldman)

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Paranoid Type Delusions and hallucinations of persecution or of greatness, loss of judgment, erratic and unpredictable behavior.

Catatonic Type Major disturbances in movement; in some phases, loss of all motion, with patient frozen into a single position; in other phases, hyperactivity and wild, sometimes violent, movement

Schizophrenic patients cost American economy billions of dollars each year. (S&R)

Schizophrenia is a fragmented condition in which words are split from meaning, actions from motives, perceptions from reality. (W&T)

Psychosis � a general lack of contact from reality (Huffman)

Reductive Statements

FELDMAN p. 48.

People with schizophrenia use logic and language in peculiar ways. Their thinking often does not make sense, and their information processing is frequently faulty. They also do not follow conventional linguistic rules (Penn et al., 17). Consider, for example the following response to the question “Why do you think people believe in God?”

Uh, let’s, I don’t know why, let’s see, balloon travel. He holds it up for you, the balloon. He don’t let you fall out, your little legs sticking down through the clouds. He’s down to the smokestack, looking through the smoke trying to get the balloon gassed up you know. Way thery’re flying on top that way, legs sticking out. I don’t know, looking down on the ground, heck, that’d make you so dizzy you just stay and sleep you iknow, hold down and sleep there. I used to be sleep outdoors, you know, sleep outdoors instead of going home. (Chapman & Chapman, 17, p. )

As this selection illustrates, although the basic grammatical structure may be intact, the substance of thinking characteristic of schizophrenia is illogical, garbled, and lacking in meaningful content.

‘Word Salad’ = “The same children are sent of a rose, sweet-smelling perfume that gives us peace and parts and whole.” “The sad, kind, and peaceful valleys of the mind come beckoning under rivers.” (Huffman)

‘Neologisms’ = “Splisters” = splinters and blisters, “Smever” = smart and clever (H)

“I wish you a happy, joyful, healthy, and fruitful year, and many god wine years to come as well as a healthy and good apple-year, and sauerkraut and cabbage and squash and seed year.” Bleuler (111). The word fruitful set off a chain of food-related associations. The reason is that schizophrenic patients who exhibit disorganized thinking tend to have difficulty focusing attention on one stimulus and filtering out distractions. (Kassin p. 65)

I get warm when I run because…”Quickness, blood, heart of deer, length. Driven power, motorized cylinder, strength.” (Kasanin � Thought and Language p. 5)

Subjective Statements

People with schizophrenia often think that their word salads are coherent, their delusions and hallucinations real, and their emotions appropriate. As one former patient said, “I felt I was the only sane person in the world gone crazy.” (Kassin p. 654.)

“To be schizophrenic is best summed up in a repeating dream that I have had since childhood. In this dream I am lying on a beautiful sunlit beach but my body is in pieces…I realize that the tide is coming in and that I am unable to gather the parts of my dismembered body together to run away…This to me is what schizophrenia feels like; being fragmented in one’s personality and constantly afraid that the tide of illness will completely cover me. (Quoted in Rollin, 180). (W&T)

“When people talk to me now it’s like a different kind of language. It’s too much to hold at once. My head is overloaded and I can’t understand what they say. It makes you forget what you’ve just heard because you can’t get hearing it long enough. It’s all in different bits which you have to put together again in your head � just words in the air unless you can figure it out from their faces. (McGhie and Chapman, 161, p. 75 in Rochester & Martin Crazy Talk, 17, p.18).

“When people are talking, I just get scraps of it. If it is just one person who is speaking, that’s not so bad, but if others join in then I can’t pick it up at all. I just can’t get in tune with the conversation. It makes me feel all open � as if things are closing in on me and I have lost control (H p. 506)

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