I Never Promised You a Rose Garden Historical Context

Joanne Greenberg
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Schizophrenia

The German doctor Emil Kraepelin (1856-26) classified mental disorders in 1887. What would later be called schizophrenia, Dr. Kraepelin lumped together with several other mental disorders under the term “dementia praecox,” which can be translated as “early dementia.” In 1911, Swiss psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler (1857-1939) further distinguished several forms of schizophrenia and asserted that some were treatable. The word schizophrenia comes from a Greek word and means a split or shattered mind.

In 1959, Kurt Schneider listed the symptoms of schizophrenia, which include psychotic episodes during which a patient has trouble differentiating between real and imagined experiences; delusions, which cause false judgments; and disorganized speech and behaviors. These symptoms, according to Schneider, would often cause social dysfunction, withdrawal, and a loss of motivation, concentration, and emotional reaction.

Debate persisted on the cause of schizophrenia, whether it had a biological or behavioral origin. But in the early 2000s common psychiatric understanding...

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