Wednesday, May 27, 2015


Schizophrenia is a mental illness characterized by thought disorder, perceptual disorders and abnormal social and personal behavior, in general terms. The name of this illness was coined by  the Swiss Psychiatrist Eugene Bleuler one hundred years ago. Before him this mental malady was called Dementia Praecox by the
Emil Kraepelin
German Psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin. Both these terms gave some hints to the inner nature of the ailment. Kraepelin thought that the person afflicted with the illness become demented prematurely and hence the name dementia praecox. Blueler's naming hints to the real cause of the illness. He thought that the mind is split in a person suffering from the disease.
Dr. Mohan Isac a psychiatrist and researcher from Fremantle Hospital, the University of Western Australia participating in a Continuing Medical Education program of the Kerala Branch of the Indian Psychiatric Society, presented his thinking about the changes in concepts and nomenclature of the enigmatic mental illness of schizophrenia. He suggested it is high time to change the name of schizophrenia and proposed "Kraepelin-Bleuler disorder" as a passing remark.
I am also of opinion that it is high time to change the name of schizophrenia. In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition - DSM-5  
Eugene Bleuler 
schizophrenia is included in the chapter on Schizophrenia Spectrum and Other Psychotic Disorders. There are two concepts in this terminology. The first concept is that the schizophrenia is a psychotic disorder. The second idea is that schizophrenia is not a single illness, it is the name of a spectrum of illnesses. Both are agreeable concepts. The DSM-5 gives the key features of psychotic disorders. They are delusions, hallucinations, disorganised thinking and speech, disorganised behaviours and negative symptoms such as diminished emotional expressions, inactivity and keeping aloof.
The functional neuro-imaging studies of the brain conducted in schizophrenic patients show poor mentational ability and abnormal activity in Pre-Frontal Cortex of the brain. Evidently the psychotic disorders including schizophrenia are disorders of mentation and psychoses can be renamed as Mentational Disorders.        

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