Chemical Changes In The Brain
A series of complex interrelated chemicals in the brain, called neurotransmitters, are responsible for sending signals between brain cells.
Low levels or imbalances of these chemicals are believed to play a role in the development of schizophrenia and other mental health conditions.
Dopamine, in particular, seems to play a role in the development of schizophrenia.
Researchers have found evidence that dopamine causes an overstimulation of the brain in people with schizophrenia. It may account for some of the symptoms of the condition.
Glutamate is another chemical thats been linked to schizophrenia. Evidence has pointed toward its involvement. However, there are a number of limitations to this research.
Complications before and during birth may increase the likelihood a person will develop mental health disorders, including schizophrenia.
These complications include:
Because of the ethics involved in studying pregnant women, many of the studies that have looked at the connection between prenatal complications and schizophrenia have been on animals.
Women with schizophrenia are at an increased risk for complications during pregnancy.
Its unclear if their children are at an increased likelihood for developing the condition because of genetics, pregnancy complications, or a combination of the two.
What If I Am Not Happy With My Treatment
If you are not happy with your treatment you can:
- talk to your doctor about your treatment options,
- ask for a second opinion,
- get an advocate to help you speak to your doctor,
- contact Patient Advice and Liaison Service and see whether they can help, or
- make a complaint.
There is more information about these options below.
You should first speak to your doctor about your treatment. Explain why you are not happy with it. You could ask what other treatments you could try.
Tell your doctor if there is a type of treatment that you would like to try. Doctors should listen to your preference. If you are not given this treatment, ask your doctor to explain why it is not suitable for you.
A second opinion means that you would like a different doctor to give their opinion about what treatment you should have. You can also ask for a second opinion if you disagree with your diagnosis.
You dont have a right to a second opinion. But your doctor should listen to your reason for wanting a second opinion.
An advocate is independent from the mental health service. They are free to use. They can be useful if you find it difficult to get your views heard.
There are different types of advocates available. Community advocates can support you to get a health professional to listen to your concerns. And help you to get the treatment that you would like.
The Patient Advice and Liaison Service
You can find out more about:
When Do Schizophrenia Symptoms Begin
Even though genetic and environmental factors are often present in early life, schizophrenia symptoms typically do not begin to show prominently until young adulthood.
Schizophrenia can occur at any age, but the average age of onset for men is late teens to early 20s. In women, symptoms generally appear in their late 20s to early 30s.
Schizophrenia appears to share genetic overlap with other common mental health conditions. Close relatives of people with schizophrenia may be at a higher genetic risk of developing bipolar disorder, epilepsy, and autism.
In one major 2018 study , an international research team looked at the data of more than 33,000 people with schizophrenia, 20,000 people with bipolar disorder, and 54,000 people without either condition.
Researchers found 114 specific loci that contribute to the risk of both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. They also found four genome regions that distinguish the biological differences between the two conditions.
According to the study, it may be possible to determine whether a person is likely to develop certain symptoms of schizophrenia based on their individual genetic risk score for either condition.
For example, the study found that people with bipolar disorder with psychosis are likely to have a higher genetic risk score for schizophrenia than those who have bipolar disorder without symptoms of psychosis.
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Different Gene Clusters Cause Different Schizophrenia Symptoms
In a large genome-wide study of more than 4,000 people with schizophrenia, researchers found distinct gene clusters that contribute to eight different types of schizophrenia.
According to this study, even various mutations within a single gene can lead to strikingly different symptoms among people.
Schizophrenia symptoms are typically divided into three distinct categories:
- Positive symptoms: hallucinations and delusions
- Negative symptoms: lack of motivation, inability to feel pleasure, absence of emotional expression
- Cognitive symptoms: difficulties with concentration, memory, and attention leading to significant disability
Each person with schizophrenia can have a very different mix of all three of these symptom groups.
The Epidemiology Of Schizophrenia
The most remarkable recent epidemiologic finding relates to migrants : Some fall ill with schizophrenia not only at higher rates than the compatriots they leave behind, but at higher rates than the natives of the countries to which they have come. Dark-skinned migrants to Europe, mostly from the Caribbean or sub-Saharan Africa, are at risk of developing schizophrenia at rates as much as 10 times higher than those of white Europeans.
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Brain And Body Risk Factors
Developmental theories of schizophrenia suggest that something goes wrong when the brain is developing. Brain development, from the earliest stage of fetal development, the early years of life and through adolescence, is an extremely complicated process. Millions of neurons are formed, migrate to different regions of the forming brain, and specialize to perform different functions.
The something that goes wrong might be a viral infection, a hormonal imbalance, an error in genetic encoding, a nutritional stress, or something else. The common element in all developmental theories is that the causal event occurs during the brains development.
Even though these potential causes may be rooted in very early development, symptoms of schizophrenia typically emerge in late adolescence or early adulthood.
Social Adversity And Life Events
Many have considered the role of social isolation and social disadvantage in increasing risk of psychosis. The mechanisms explaining associations between social factors and psychosis are likely to be complex, in a similar way to those mediating the roles of ethnicity and urbanicity Factors such as access to health care, social support, self esteem, unemployment, and poor physical health will play a role. The interaction between perceptions of disadvantage and more direct effects of adversity are also difficult to disentangle. Low social class, a complex concept in itself, has been consistently found to be associated with schizophrenia, but the roles of social causation versus social drift have often been difficult to separate. Studies examining social class at birth, employed as a proxy for assessing social causation, have not been consistent in their findings., Byrne et al have recently looked at the role of personal and parental social class in relation to first admission for schizophrenia using data from the Danish national registers. Risk of schizophrenia was associated with unemployment, low educational attainment, being single, lower wealth status, low income, and being childless. Risk was also found to be associated with parental unemployment and parental lower income, but higher parental education. The authors concluded that personal rather than parental socioeconomic disadvantage had the greatest impact on onset of schizophrenia.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Schizophrenia And How Is It Diagnosed
How is schizophrenia diagnosed?
Only a psychiatrist can diagnose you with schizophrenia after a full psychiatric assessment. You may have to see the psychiatrist a few times before they diagnose you. This is because they need to see how often you are experiencing symptoms.
There are currently no blood tests or scans that can prove if you have schizophrenia. So, psychiatrists use manuals to diagnose schizophrenia and other mental illnesses.
The 2 main manuals used by medical professionals are the:
- International Classification of Diseases which is produced by the World Health Organisation , or
- Diagnostic and Statistical Manual which is produced by the American Psychiatric Association .
NHS doctors use the ICD-10.
The manuals explain which symptoms should be present, and for how long for you to receive a diagnosis. For example, according to the NHS you need to be hearing voices for at least 1 month before you can be diagnosed. Mental health professionals may say you have psychosis before they diagnose you with schizophrenia.
What is the future of diagnosis in schizophrenia?There are many research studies being conducted across the world on how to better diagnose schizophrenia. For example, a recent study found through looking at images of the brain, there may be different sub-types of schizophrenia.
What are the symptoms of schizophrenia?
The symptoms of schizophrenia are commonly described as positive symptoms or negative symptoms. This doesnt mean that they are good or bad.
Factors That Contribute To The Development Of Schizophrenia
Info: 2055 words Essay 1st Jan 2015 inPsychology
A lot of emphasis is put on investigating biological, scientific causes of schizophrenia and there is an ongoing hunt for identification of specific genes that can be targeted as the root of the problem. as this mystery gene/group of genes is yet to be established it becomes necessary to explore the contributions of other approaches such as the social and environmental theories to determine potential causes or stressors of schizophrenia this view is evident when u looking at certain biological theories.
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Numerous studies involving the use of twins and concordance rates have been carried out to try and determine whether or not schizophrenia is caused by hereditary genes. Research implies that the higher the concordance rates established for MZ twins as opposed to DZ twins signifies a genetic link. . Results indicate the monozygotic twins are more than 4x more concordant than Dizygotic twins providing strong evidence that schizophrenia is genetically determined. Despite the sufficient evidence however the results of the study illustrate that there must be other factors that contribute to the progression of the illness.
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What Factors Contribute To The Onset And Development Of Schizophrenia
The exact causes of schizophrenia are unknown. Research suggests a combination of physical, genetic, psychological and environmental factors can make a person more likely to develop the condition. Some people may be prone to schizophrenia, and a stressful or emotional life event might trigger a psychotic episode.
Other Family Environmental Factors
In the British 1946 Birth Cohort, schizophrenia in offspring has been linked with problems in mothers general understanding and management of their children . Goldstein concluded that communication deviance in the family increased the risk for schizophrenia. Having a positive relationship with both the mother and father might be protective against schizophrenia among high-risk children. These findings may be explained by geneenvironment interaction.
In Finnish studies some possible stress factors have not generally been linked to schizophrenia. Very early temporal separation from parents and transfer to adequate nursing homes immediately after birth because of tuberculosis in the family did not predict schizophrenia, and neither did living in a single-parent family in childhood, low socio-economic status, or the size of the family of origin and multiparity. The connection between childhood socio-economic status and schizophrenia is not yet entirely resolved. Low or high socio-economic status in the family of origin has been found to be at least a modest risk factor for schizophrenia in some studies, while other studies report no increased risk.
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Is It Possible To Recover From Schizophrenia
Many people who live with schizophrenia have recovery journeys that lead them to live meaningful lives.
Recovery can be thought of in terms of:
- clinical recovery, and
- personal recovery.
What is clinical recovery?
Your doctor might have talked to you about recovery. Some doctors and health professionals think of recovery as:
- no longer having mental illness symptoms, or
- where your symptoms are controlled by treatment to such a degree that they are not significantly a problem.
Sometimes this is called clinical recovery.
Everyones experience of clinical recovery is different.
- Some people completely recover from schizophrenia and go on to be symptom free.
- Some who live with schizophrenia can improve a great deal with ongoing treatment.
- Some improve with treatment but need ongoing support from mental health and social services.
What is personal recovery?
Dealing with symptoms is important to a lot of people. But some people think that recovery is wider than this. We call this personal recovery.
Personal recovery means that you can live a meaningful life.
What you think of as being a meaningful life might be different to how other people see it. You can think about what you would like to do to live a meaningful life and work towards that goal.
Below are some ways you can think of recovery.
What can help me recover?
You may want to think about the following questions.
The following things can be important in recovery.
Other Possible Antenatal Environmental Risk Factors
In utero exposure to noninfectious environmental agents, such as maternal stress, maternal malnutrition, maternal diabetes, smoking, and rhesus incompatibility, has also been considered.
A number of investigations have examined the relationship between experience of a stressful event during pregnancy or maternal stress more generally, and later psychosis. Risk of schizophrenia is claimed to be increased among offspring of mothers who were exposed to sudden widespread disasters while pregnant, such as the German invasion of the Netherlands in 1940 and a flood in southwest Holland in 1953. Paternal death during pregnancy was examined as a proxy for maternal stress in a study by Huttunen and Niskanen in 1978. They found a sixfold increase in risk of schizophrenia among those whose fathers had died while they were in utero, compared with those subjects who lost their fathers in infancy. Negative results have also been published indicating that considerable caution must be exercised in drawing conclusions about the role of maternal stress during pregnancy and risk of schizophrenia among offspring.,
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Environmental Factors In Developing Schizophrenia
Although schizophrenia has some distinct genetic basis, research suggests that environmental factors also play a role in whether a person will likely develop the condition or not.
In other words, a person with a high genetic risk of schizophrenia may not necessarily develop it if other environmental factors are not there to trigger it.
Chances For People To Develop A Psychosis
Psychosis is common. Schizophrenia affects about 1% of the general population, bipolar disorder affects about 1-2% of the general population and major depression affects about 5-10% of the general population.
However, studies show that the chances for developing many types of psychosis are higher for family members of people with a psychosis.
The following statistics show the chances of a person who has a brother, sister, or parent with one of the following disorders, developing these disorders themselves.
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The Default Mode Network
When weâre just hanging out — the dishes are done, weâve finished our homework, or we’ve completed a tough project at work — our thoughts are free to roam. This âdefault modeâ allows us time to daydream, reflect, and plan. It helps us process our thoughts and memories. Scientists call this the default mode network. When weâre not focused on a given task, it âlights up.” If you have schizophrenia, your default mode network seems to be in overdrive. You may not be able to pay attention or remember information in this mode, one study shows.
What Myths Are There About Schizophrenia
There are some myths or mistaken beliefs about schizophrenia which come from the media. For example,
- Schizophrenia means someone has a split personality
This is not the case. The mistake may come from the fact that the name ‘schizophrenia’ comes from two Greek words meaning ‘split’ and ‘mind’.
- Schizophrenia causes people to be violent
Research shows that only a small number of people with the illness may become violent. The same way as a small minority of the general public may become violent.
People with schizophrenia are far more likely to be harmed by other people than other people are to be harmed by them. But as these incidents can be shocking, the media often report them in a way which emphasises the mental health diagnosis. This can create fear and stigma in the general public.
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What If I Am A Carer Friend Or Relative
It can be distressing if you are a carer, friend or relative of someone who has schizophrenia. You can get support.
How can I get support for myself?
You can do the following.
- Speak to your GP about medication and talking therapies for yourself.
- Speak to your relatives care team about family intervention. For more information about family intervention see the further up this page.
- Speak to your relatives care team about a carers assessment.
- Ask for a carers assessment.
- Join a carers service. They are free and available in most areas.
- Join a carers support group for emotional and practical support. Or set up your own.
What is a carers assessment?NICE guidelines state that you should be given your own assessment through the community mental health team to work out what effect your caring role is having on your health. And what support you need. Such as practical support and emergency support.
The CMHT should tell you about your right to have a carers assessment through your local authority. To get a carers assessment you need to contact your local authority.
How do I get support from my peers?You can get peer support through carer support services or carers groups. You can search for local groups in your area by using a search engine such as Google. Or you can call our advice service on 0808 801 0525. They will search for you.
How can I support the person I care for?
You can do the following.
There is no definition for what high risk means. It could include: