Skip to main content

Key Information About Schizophrenia

Srikanth is passionate about helping people improve their quality of life.

Overview

Schizophrenia is a debilitating mental health condition. It interferes with the affected individual's ability to think clearly, manage emotions, make decisions and relate to others. It affects more than 21 million people worldwide.

key-information-about-schizophrenia

The term schizophrenia is derived from the Greek skhizein, “to split”, and phren, “mind”.

key-information-about-schizophrenia

Causes

A combination of physical, genetic, psychological and environmental factors can make a person more likely to develop schizophrenia.

Genetics plays a major role. While schizophrenia occurs in 1 percent of the population, the risk rises sharply to 50 percent for a person whose identical twin has the disease.

Problems with certain naturally occurring brain chemicals, including neurotransmitters known as dopamine and glutamate, may contribute to this expensive disorder.

Neurotransmitters are chemical signals that identify and coordinate specific types of nerve cells throughout the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves.

Taking certain mind-altering drugs known as psychoactive or psychotropic drugs (such as methamphetamine or LSD) can make you more likely to get schizophrenia.

People with epilepsy have a risk of developing schizophrenia that is two-and-a-half times higher than those without epilepsy.

According to a research study conducted in October 2021 at the Centre for Medical Image Computing at University College London (UCL), United Kingdom, the imbalance of nerve cell activity responsible for the condition and its associated symptoms may result from the body trying to rebalance excitatory and inhibitory functions.

"The risk for schiz is higher in men than in women," said Dr Kersi Chavda, past president of the Bombay Psychiatry Society, consultant at the P D Hinduja National, Hinduja Healthcare and the Sir H N Reliance foundation hospitals.

A growing body of evidence indicates that fetal and other early environmental determinants may increase the risk of schizophrenia.

— Schizophrenia Bulletin

Symptoms

Symptoms of schizophrenia usually begin to appear during adolescence or early adulthood, but early signs of the condition may show up during childhood.

Social withdrawal, depression, difficulty paying attention, suspicion, hostility, expressionless gaze, difficulty sleeping, lack of personal hygiene and irrational beliefs are some early warning signs of schizophrenia.

Delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech and disorganized behavior are the main symptoms of this neurodevelopmental disorder.

"The first hallucinations I can remember from childhood are the faces in the trees. I saw them everywhere, especially at night.

Scroll to Continue

Whether they had a twisted laugh or demonic eyes, they were always scary. I have schizophrenia, and I still see the faces in the trees" said Rachel Star Withers, an entertainer, speaker, video producer, and schizophrenic.

key-information-about-schizophrenia

Life Expectancy

A 2015 studyTrusted Source showed that people with schizophrenia are 3.5 times more likely than those without the diagnosis to die each year, while a 2017 study suggests that schizophrenia subtracts an average of 14.5 years from a person’s life expectancy.

Treatment

Currently there is no cure for schizophrenia. Antipsychotic medicines, which affect or influence brain chemicals that regulate thought patterns or emotions, reduce the symptoms, but do not cure the illness.

Some experts are of the opinion that anyone diagnosed with schizophrenia, like other mental illnesses, can recover if given the opportunity.

Types of psychological treatment for schizophrenia include cognitive behavioural therapy, psychoeducation and family psychoeducation.

Psychosocial therapy focuses on social and vocational training. It helps schizophrenia patients learn skills they need for interacting with others and living in the community.

Psychotherapy can help teach patients new coping strategies, behaviors and thought processes.

Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers say that sulforaphane in broccoli sprouts helps adjust the chemical imbalances in the brain that have been linked to schizophrenia.

"It's possible that future studies could show sulforaphane to be a safe supplement to give people at risk of developing schizophrenia as a way to prevent, delay or blunt the onset of symptoms," adds Akira Sawa, M.D., Ph.D.

Use of lumateperone results in clinically significant improvements in schizophrenia symptoms.

On October 18 2021, Alkermes plc (Nasdaq: ALKS) announced that LYBALVI® (olanzapine and samidorphan) is now available by prescription in the United States for the treatment of adults with schizophrenia.

Several clinical trials have suggested that the combined administration of an antipsychotic drug and an “add-on” antidepressant can improve NS and some affective disorders associated with schizophrenia, without exacerbating extrapyramidal side effects, in patients in whom such problems have proved persistent and who have been unresponsive to antipsychotic monotherapy.

Prevention

Never use street drugs. Avoid excessive consumption of alcohol. Learn to manage stress; Heartfulness way of life helps you in this.

Avoid social isolation. Do yoga daily. Meditate daily. Sleep for at least seven hours during night.

Automated analysis of the two language variables -- more frequent use of words associated with sound and speaking with low semantic density, or vagueness -- can predict whether an at-risk person will later develop psychosis with 93 percent accuracy.

Patients with both schizophrenia and epilepsy are particularly vulnerable to early death, according to a Danish study from Aarhus University.

The findings reveal that more than 25 percent of people with both conditions die between the ages of 25 and 50.

— PsychCentral

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2019 Srikanth R

Related Articles