Genetics

Sex-specific processes in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder

Recent studies have found a high genetic similarity of the psychiatric diseases schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, whose disease-specific changes in brain cells show an overlap of more than 70 percent. These changes affect ...

Psychology & Psychiatry

How artificial intelligence can transform psychiatry

Thanks to advances in artificial intelligence, computers can now assist doctors in diagnosing disease and help monitor patient vital signs from hundreds of miles away.

Neuroscience

New research identifies neurodevelopment-related gene deficiency

Researchers at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine have identified that a gene critical to clearing up unnecessary proteins plays a role in brain development and contributes to the development of autism ...

Psychology & Psychiatry

Polygenic risk score improves psychosis risk prediction

A new study led by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has found that that using a polygenic risk score (PRS) based on data from genome-wide association studies (GWAS) improves psychosis risk prediction ...

Neuroscience

High-fat maternal diet can cause brain damage in the unborn child

A research team at MedUni Vienna's Center for Brain Research has found that high-fat maternal diets can cause life-long changes in the brains of the unborn offspring. When a pregnant woman consumes a diet high in polyunsaturated ...

Medical research

Study explores potential new class of antidepressants

Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center have taken a major step that could ultimately facilitate development of a new class of antidepressants which may relieve symptoms more rapidly and effectively and with fewer ...

Medical research

Researchers develop new database of druggable fusion targets

When sections from two separate genes merge due to various factors, such as translocation or splicing, the hybrid that is formed is called a gene fusion. In recent years, it has been discovered that these fusion events play ...

Medical research

Doctors find a cure for rare uncontrollable laughter condition

Laughter is the best medicine, except when it is actually the symptom of an illness. Medical residents at the University of Hawaiʻi (UH) helped to find relief for a man who suffered from nearly a lifelong affliction that ...

Neuroscience

Scientists develop a new method to detect light in the brain

Researchers from Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) and University of Salento, both in Lecce, Italy, and Harvard Medical School in Boston have developed a new light-based method to capture and pinpoint the epicenter of ...

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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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