Psychology & Psychiatry

Determined DNA hunt reveals schizophrenia clue

An 18-year study using the DNA of thousands of people in India has identified a new clue in the quest for causes of schizophrenia, and for potential treatments.

Psychology & Psychiatry

Early detection of schizophrenia

Detecting and treating schizophrenia early, perhaps even before symptoms arise, could lead to better therapeutic outcomes. Studies have demonstrated differences in social function and cognition among people who later develop ...

Psychology & Psychiatry

Physical evidence in the brain for types of schizophrenia

In a study using brain tissue from deceased human donors, Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers say they found new evidence that schizophrenia can be marked by the buildup of abnormal proteins similar to those found in the brains ...

Genetics

Schizophrenia: Adolescence is the game-changer

Schizophrenia causes hallucinations and memory or cognition problems inter alia. This psychiatric illness affects 0.5 percent of the general population, and it may be related to genetic abnormalities of chromosome 22, known ...

Psychology & Psychiatry

Mentally ill at risk of dangerous pregnancy complication

New research by Murdoch University and The University of Western Australia has revealed that women with severe mental illness have a greater chance of developing a serious medical complication during pregnancy.

Psychology & Psychiatry

Patients with both schizophrenia and epilepsy die alarmingly early

More than one in four patients with schizophrenia and epilepsy die before reaching the age of fifty. This is shown by research from Aarhus University and Aarhus University Hospital. The results, which have been published ...

Psychology & Psychiatry

Texting to improve health outcomes for people with schizophrenia

Texting patients with schizophrenia and their lay health supporters in a resource-poor community setting is more effective than a free-medicine program alone in improving medication adherence and reducing relapses and re-hospitalizations, ...

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Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia (SCZ) (pronounced /ˌskɪtsɵˈfrɛniə/ or /ˌskɪtsɵˈfriːniə/), from the Greek roots skhizein (σχίζειν, "to split") and phrēn, phren- (φρήν, φρεν-; "mind") is a psychiatric diagnosis that describes a mental disorder characterized by abnormalities in the perception or expression of reality. Distortions in perception may affect all five senses, including sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch, but most commonly manifest as auditory hallucinations, paranoid or bizarre delusions, or disorganized speech and thinking with significant social or occupational dysfunction. Onset of symptoms typically occurs in young adulthood, with approximately 0.4–0.6% of the population affected. Diagnosis is based on the patient's self-reported experiences and observed behavior. No laboratory test for schizophrenia currently exists.

Studies suggest that genetics, early environment, neurobiology, psychological and social processes are important contributory factors; some recreational and prescription drugs appear to cause or worsen symptoms. Current psychiatric research is focused on the role of neurobiology, but no single organic cause has been found. Due to the many possible combinations of symptoms, there is debate about whether the diagnosis represents a single disorder or a number of discrete syndromes. For this reason, Eugen Bleuler termed the disease the schizophrenias (plural) when he coined the name. Despite its etymology, schizophrenia is not the same as dissociative identity disorder, previously known as multiple personality disorder or split personality, with which it has been erroneously confused.

Increased dopamine activity in the mesolimbic pathway of the brain is consistently found in schizophrenic individuals. The mainstay of treatment is antipsychotic medication; this type of drug primarily works by suppressing dopamine activity. Dosages of antipsychotics are generally lower than in the early decades of their use. Psychotherapy, and vocational and social rehabilitation are also important. In more serious cases—where there is risk to self and others—involuntary hospitalization may be necessary, although hospital stays are less frequent and for shorter periods than they were in previous times.

The disorder is thought to mainly 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 around 40%. Social problems, such as long-term unemployment, poverty and homelessness, are common. Furthermore, the average life expectancy of people with the disorder is 10 to 12 years less than those without, due to increased physical health problems and a higher suicide rate.

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