Schizophrenic disorders are a type of mental disorder that is characterized by its tendency to chronicity, the deterioration of the individual’s functioning and psychotic symptoms associated with disturbances of thinking, feeling and behavior. Other characteristics of schizophrenia are the existence of strange ideas, dissociation of thought and emotion, and social withdrawal.
From the 17th to 19th century psychiatrists attempted to differentiate what today we call schizophrenia, from Melancholia, dementia in the elderly, and brain damage occurring in the wars. Those early clinicians tried to make a modern psychiatric classification by using criteria of symptomatology, in the course of the disease, and the outcome.
What nowadays we know as Schizophrenia received many other names over the centuries: Stupidity, Vesania, Idiocy, Insanity of puberty, Monomania, Paranoia, etc.
The concept of Dementia Praecox was developed in 1896, based on the early onset of the tendency towards a deterioration course. But it was not until 1908 that the name of Schizophrenia was coined, referring to the disconnection or splitting of the psychic functions believed to be an outstanding symptom of that disease.
(Edited by María Moya Guirao, M.D.)