Throughout the course of medical medicine, treatment and diagnosis have grown the past seventy to eighty years. Mental diseases and disorders were considered taboo or uncommon compared to modern medical advances in science of neurology and psychology. Schizophrenia is no exception to these beliefs, though over time we’ve only scratched the surface of understanding mental illnesses and their effects on day to day life. History plays a vital role in understanding the ways upon improving modern medicine and medical procedures.
As early as the 11th and 15th centuries, schizophrenia along with other mental disorders were wildly believed to be influenced by demonic or brought on by witchcraft. For example, schizophrenia was believed to be the result of witchcraft of demon possession, not even considered to be a neurological problem. However, during the Renaissance Era the ideals with newly discovered methods to modern medicine were at its all time peak.
Many physicians at this time began to propose the idea of the supernatural not playing a part in mental illnesses, and more naturalistic explanations were exposed.
Such physicians like Andrea Aliciati, an Italian jurist and writer argued that purification of a “witch” or “warlock” were needing medical attention such as drug administration, such as hellebore a flower used to treat cholera, gout, and high blood pressure, rather than being executed. Johann Weyer, a Dutch physician from the Netherlands said witches suffered from hallucinations resulting from a disease pf physical origin. These men sparked the flames for understanding schizophrenia and other mental disorders in a constructive, medical, and psychological manner than relying wholly on religious superstitions.
Still despite much advances in modern science, Schizophrenia is very difficult to understand even with technology and pharmaceutical advances.
However, that doesn’t mean that doctors haven’t at least made efforts to help those diagnosed with Schizophrenia. Fred Plum, an American neurologist calls Schizophrenia the “graveyard” of neuropathology, alluding the lack of consistent findings in the field. His findings discovered lack of gliosis or scar tissue in the brains of patients with Schizophrenia, suggesting that development of the illness begins before the third trimester of pregnancy. Symptoms of Schizophrenic patient experience delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech and behavior, thought echo, withdrawal, and have third person conversations. Hearing voices is also a common symptom, though voices are not a characteristic of Schizophrenia specifically. It is considered a symptom because it appears most common in patients. Structurally, the brains of Schizophrenia have enlarged lateral ventricles and third ventricles, as well as reduction of grey matter volume.
The frontal lobe becomes reduced and the prefrontal cortex also becomes smaller. As a result, because of the neurologically physical aspects of Schizophrenia makes it difficult to reduce the risk of relapse in patients, making a toxic effect on the psyche. Little was known for the best treatment for Schizophrenia, early years believed isolation was best for patients, locking them up in small spaces to find peace with God was for years. Nowadays, we understand that isolation for long periods of time makes patients of mental disorders and diseases worse. Still, requiring coherent and consistent longitudinal planning seems to be the most successful in treatment. Educating the patient on their diseases or disorders, encouraging them and empowering them to stay well physically and spiritually helps significantly. In conclusion, Schizophrenia is just another part of the brain we don’t fully understand yet. But with changing research, and well-equipped hospitals and mental institutions can help better our knowledge. Having a mental disease or disorder doesn’t mean life cannot be even more beautiful.