Schizophrenia-A psychotic disorder
One of the most chronic and disabling of the severe mental illnesses is the brain disorder known as Schizophrenia. The first signs of schizophrenia usually manifest in people between the ages of 15 to 25 when the body is undergoing many hormonal and physical changes of adolescence and young adulthood. The effects are often devastating to the victims as well as to their family and friends. Hallucinations, delusions, disordered thoughts, unusual speech or behavior and social withdrawal impair the ability to interact with others. Most people with schizophrenia suffer chronically or with periodic episodes throughout their lives, losing opportunities for careers and relationships. Schizophrenia is one of the most common mental illnesses. Schizophrenia affects an estimated one percent of the population in every country of the world. In the United States, there are about 2.5 million people with the disease. Schizophrenia is the cause of more hospitalizations than almost any other illness (National Institute of Mental Health [NIMH], 1999).
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