Disturbing Film: Symptoms of Schizophrenia – Medicine, Psychiatry, Patients & Treatment (1940s)


These are called first-rank symptoms or Schneider's first-rank symptoms. They include delusions of being controlled by an external force; The belief that thoughts are being inserted into or withdrawn from one's conscious mind; The belief that one's thoughts are being broadcast to other people; And hearing hallucinatory voices that comment on one's thoughts or actions or that have a conversation with other hallucinated voices. Although they have contributed significantly to the current diagnostic criteria, the specificity of first-rank symptoms has been questioned. A review of the diagnostic studies conducted between 1970 and 2005 found that neither the reconfirmation nor the rejection of Schneider's claims, and suggested that first-rank symptoms should be de-emphasized in future revisions of diagnostic systems.

The history of schizophrenia is complex and does not lend itself easily to a linear narrative. Accounts of a schizophrenia-like syndrome are thought to be rare in historical records before the 19th century, although reports of irrational, unintelligible, or uncontrolled behavior were common. A detailed case report in 1797 concerning James Tilly Matthews, and accounts by Phillipe Pinel published in 1809, are often regarded as the earliest cases of the disease in the medical and psychiatric literature. The Latinized term dementia praecox was first used by German alienist Heinrich Schule in 1886 and then in 1891 by Arnold Pick in a case report of a psychotic disorder (hebephrenia). In 1893 Emil Kraepelin borrowed the term from Schule and Pick and in 1899 introduced a broad new distinction in the classification of mental disorders between dementia praecox and mood disorder (termed manic depression and including both unipolar and bipolar depression). Kraepelin believed that dementia praecox was probably caused by long-term, smoldering systemic or "whole body" disease that affected many organs and peripheral nerves in the body but which affected the brain after puberty in a final decisive cascade. His use of the term dementia distinguished it from other forms of dementia such as Alzheimer's disease which typically occurs later in life. It is sometimes argued that the use of the term dementia precoce in 1852 by the French physician Bénédict Morel constitutes the medical discovery of schizophrenia. However this account ignores the fact that there is little to connect Morel's descriptive use of the term and the independent development of the dementia praecox disease concept at the end of the nineteenth-century.

The word schizophrenia-which translates roughly the "splitting of the mind" and comes from the Greek roots schizein (σχίζειν, "to split") and phrēn, phren- (φρήν, φρεν-, "mind") – was coined by Eugen Bleuler In 1908 and was intended to describe the separation of function between personality, thinking, memory, and perception. American and British interpretations of Beuler led to the claim that he has described his main symptoms as 4 A's: flattened Affect, Autism, Impaired Association of Ideas and Ambivalence. Bleuler realized that the illness was not dementia, some of his patients improved rather than deteriorated, and thus proposed the term schizophrenia instead. Treatment was revolutionized in the mid-1950s with the development and introduction of chlorpromazine.

In the early 1970s, the diagnostic criteria for schizophrenia were the subject of a number of controversies which eventually led to the operational criteria used today. It became clear after the 1971 US-UK Diagnostic Study that schizophrenia was diagnosed to be far greater extent in America than in Europe. This was partly due to the diagnostic criteria in the US, which used the DSM-II manual, contrasting with Europe and its ICD-9. David Rosenhan's 1972 study, published in the journal Science under the title "On being sane in insane places", concluded that the diagnosis of schizophrenia in the US was often subjective and unreliable. These are some of the factors leading to the revision of the DSM-III in 1980. The term schizophrenia is commonly misunderstood to mean that Have a split personality. Although some people diagnosed with schizophrenia may hear voices and may experience the voices as distinct personalities, schizophrenia does not involve a person changing among distinct multiple personalities.

Video credits to The Film Archives YouTube channel


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Disturbing Film: Symptoms of Schizophrenia – Medicine, Psychiatry, Patients & Treatment (1940s)

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