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Schizophrenia Schizophrenia was first classified as a specific mental illness in the late 19th century However illnesses of the mind had the attention of medical doctors for centuries before During the Middle Ages the publics view of the mentally ill took a turn for the worse Schizophrenics were now believed to be possessed by the devil During the early Renaissance some of the possessed who were actually no more than people suffering from a mental illness were burned at the stake The first actual confinement of mentally ill people began in the Middle Ages with the ships of fools These ships were loaded with the insane and sailed form one European port to another with no certain direction or course Beginning in the 13th and 14th centuries asylums were opened for the mentally ill in European countries like France Spain and England The term bedlam meaning a scene of wild uproar and confusion comes from the first asylum to be opened in England Bethlehem Hospital in London Emil Kraeplin a German psychiatrist was the first to recognize schizophrenia as a specific mental illness He names it dementia praecox meaning early insanity Swiss psychiatrist Eugen Blueler believed schizophrenia was a disturbance in the process through which the people made mental associations He coined the name schizophrenia which means splitting of the mind This name started a widespread idea that schizophrenics had split personalities which they did not Schizophrenics do not have split personalities but more of no personality at all but in the sense that a personality is a human feeling by which people relate to one another Evidence supports the idea that schizophrenia increased during the 1800s Two contrasting theories about this evidence have emerged about this evidence The first is that the disorder has always been around but was never recognized until the beginning of the 19th century The second states that schizophrenia was a result of the major social changes the
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