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schizophrenia

Pronunciation: skiz'o-fre'ne-a, skit-so-

Definition: A term coined by Bleuler, synonymous with and replacing dementia praecox, denoting a common type of psychosis, characterized by abnormalities in perception, content of thought, and thought processes (hallucinations and delusions) and by extensive withdrawal of interest from other people and the outside world, with excessive focusing on one's own mental life. Now considered a group or spectrum of disorders rather than a single entity, with distinction sometimes made between process schizophrenia and reactive schizophrenia. The “split” personality of schizophrenia, in which individual psychic components or functions split off and become autonomous, is popularly but erroneously identified with multiple personality, in which two or more relatively complete personalities dominate by turns the psychic life of a patient.

[schizo- + G. phren, mind]

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© Copyright 2017 Wolters Kluwer. All Rights Reserved. Review Date: Sep 19, 2016.
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