Meaning of Schizophrenic

Even though schizophrenia is one of the most common psychotic disorders, it continues to be poorly understood by many people. There are a number of common misperceptions about what schizophrenia is, and one of the most prevalent is that schizophrenia is similar to dissociative identity disorder (also called multiple personality disorder of split personality). One reason for this confusion may have to do with the meaning and origin of the term "schizophrenia," which is somewhat misleading.

Greek etymology

Schizophrenia comes from the German word schizophrenie, which was coined in 1910 by the Swiss psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler. The term is derived from the Greek words skhizein and phren. Skhizein means "to split" and phren means, variously, "diaphragm, heart, and mind” (with all meanings generally referring to or having to do with thought and emotion).

Putting these two terms together to arrive at schizophrenia was intended to describe the breakdown between thoughts, feelings, and actions that is characteristic of the disorder. The idea of “split mind,” however, is often wrongly taken to mean a split personality.

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