Psychology & Psychiatry

Risk of psychotic disorders has disease-specific brain effects

Brain abnormalities in people at familial risk of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder emerge in unique patterns, despite the symptom and genetic overlap of the disorders, according to a study in Biological Psychiatry. Similarities ...

Autism spectrum disorders

Is it autism? The line is getting increasingly blurry

Around the world, the number of people diagnosed with autism is rising. In the United States, the prevalence of the disorder has grown from 0.05% in 1966 to more than 2% today. In Quebec, the reported prevalence is close ...

Psychology & Psychiatry

Evidence contradicts common stereotypes about mass shooters

When 22 people were killed in El Paso, Texas, and nine more were killed in Dayton, Ohio, roughly 12 hours later, responses to the tragedy included many of the same myths and stereotypes Americans have grown used to hearing ...

Psychology & Psychiatry

Study finds genetic basis for re-experiencing symptoms in PTSD

A study based on the Million Veteran Program of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has identified multiple locations in the human genome related to the risk of re-experiencing traumatic memories, the most distinctive ...

Neuroscience

How the brain remembers the order of events

For centuries understanding how the order of events is stored in memory has been a mystery. However, researchers from the Department of Computer Science at the University of Warwick have worked out how the order of events ...

Psychology & Psychiatry

Scientists discover how chronic stress causes brain damage

DGIST announced on July 2 that Professor Seong-Woon Yu's team in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences discovered that chronic stress causes autophagic death of adult hippocampal neural stem cells (NSCs). These findings ...

Psychology & Psychiatry

Genetic variation contributes to individual differences in pleasure

Differences in how our brains respond when we're anticipating a financial reward are due, in part, to genetic differences, according to research with identical and fraternal twins published in Psychological Science, a journal ...

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Schizophrenia (/ˌskɪtsɵˈfrɛniə/ or /ˌskɪtsɵˈfriːniə/) is a mental disorder characterized by a breakdown of thought processes and by poor emotional responsiveness. It most commonly manifests itself as auditory hallucinations, paranoid or bizarre delusions, or disorganized speech and thinking, and it is accompanied by significant social or occupational dysfunction. The onset of symptoms typically occurs in young adulthood, with a global lifetime prevalence of about 0.3–0.7%. Diagnosis is based on observed behavior and the patient's reported experiences.

Genetics, early environment, neurobiology, and psychological and social processes appear to be important contributory factors; some recreational and prescription drugs appear to cause or worsen symptoms. Current research is focused on the role of neurobiology, although no single isolated organic cause has been found. The many possible combinations of symptoms have triggered debate about whether the diagnosis represents a single disorder or a number of discrete syndromes. Despite the etymology of the term from the Greek roots skhizein (σχίζειν, "to split") and phrēn, phren- (φρήν, φρεν-; "mind"), schizophrenia does not imply a "split mind" and it is not the same as dissociative identity disorder—also known as "multiple personality disorder" or "split personality"—a condition with which it is often confused in public perception.

The mainstay of treatment is antipsychotic medication, which primarily suppresses dopamine (and sometimes serotonin) receptor activity. Psychotherapy and vocational and social rehabilitation are also important in treatment. In more serious cases—where there is risk to self and others—involuntary hospitalization may be necessary, although hospital stays are now shorter and less frequent than they once were.

The disorder is thought mainly to affect cognition, but it also usually contributes to chronic problems with behavior and emotion. People with schizophrenia are likely to have additional (comorbid) conditions, including major depression and anxiety disorders; the lifetime occurrence of substance abuse is almost 50%. Social problems, such as long-term unemployment, poverty and homelessness, are common. The average life expectancy of people with the disorder is 12 to 15 years less than those without, the result of increased physical health problems and a higher suicide rate (about 5%).

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