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January 1969

An Essay on Schizophrenia and Science

Author Affiliations

From the Institute for Psychosomatic and Psychiatric Research and Training of the Michael Reese Hospital and Medical Center, Chicago.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1969;20(1):1-24. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1969.01740130003001

SCHIZOPHRENIA, most dreaded of all mental illness, has plagued mankind for countless years without abatement. Although it reached significance as a discrete clinical entity under the rubric of dementa precox only in 1860, approximately 7,000 papers on the subject by Bellak's1 count have been published between 1936 and 1956. It is likely that in the last 100 years more investigators have spent more time, money, and energy, and written more on schizophrenia than on all other psychiatric problems combined. Yet our ignorance concerning its definition, causes, course, treatments, and outcome is still abysmal. The most we can say is that several theories have been developed which are competitive, each one promising resolution of all the problems of etiology.

We gain little satisfaction from the fact that psychiatry in its investigations of schizophrenia is no more backward than oncology in its researches

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