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The Shattered Mind

Whilst the term 'schizophrenia' is a relatively new one - it was first employed by Eugen Bleuler in a 1911 monograph - the symptoms of the disorder were identified as a distinct illness by Emile Kraepelin in 1887. Further, some would argue that the disorder has been around as long as modern humans have walked the planet. Documents from ancient Egypt, some two thousand years before the birth of Christ, described the thought disturbances typifying schizophrenia. In this lecture, we will examine the history of this dreadful disorder, working through to 21st century conceptions of its causes and aetiology. We will consider modern theories of brain development and function, gene-environment interactions, prenatal and perinatal influences on risk, together with proposed environmental triggers such as teenage use of skunk cannabis to present a balanced account of the complex nature of schizophrenia. Finally, we will consider treatments - pharmacological and non-pharmacological - and look to developments on the horizon.

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