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Approximately two hundred thousand people are developing schizophrenia every year. Schizophrenia is not curable. However, a therapist can treat it with counseling, medications, and other care services. Schizophrenia can include a variety of symptoms. Common symptoms include withdrawal from day-to-day life and unreal perceptions. The condition involves the breaking down of a person's thoughts, their emotions, and their behavior. Patients with schizophrenia can have a difficult time attending school and maintaining a profession.

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Genetics

Schizophrenia can be hereditary. Generally, a therapist will discuss family history and hereditary medical conditions when they suspect that a patient could be showing symptoms of schizophrenia. We have yet to discover if a particular gene can contribute to an increased likelihood of developing schizophrenia. However, research does show that genetics may play a role in who is more likely to develop schizophrenia or other similar mental illnesses that produce hallucinations or cause the sufferer to separate from reality. Just because a family member has schizophrenia, it is never certain that anyone else within the gene pool will suffer from it, as well.

genetics developing schizophrenia
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Early Environment

Research shows that a person with schizophrenia may have been affected by situations during the early stages of their life that make them more prone to developing schizophrenia as they grow older. When a young child has had several viral illnesses, this can also affect the way that the brain develops. This can leave the patient vulnerable to developing a mental illness associated with psychosis, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorders. Whether the child receives therapy for any behavioral issues during early development has not been shown to impact their chances of having schizophrenia.

environment developing schizophrenia
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Chemical Defects

As more tests are created throughout the years to test chemical defects of the brain, such defects have an attribution to schizophrenia. These have often been noted as a possible cause for this mind-altering mental illness. The brain's neurotransmitters, which are the key to nerve cell communication, have long been linked to schizophrenia. If there is some sort of imbalance with communication within the brain, then the patient may be more vulnerable to having schizophrenia than an individual who exhibits normal brain communications.

chemical developing schizophrenia
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Physical Abnormality in the Brain

Neuroimaging technology has made it far easier for scientists and researchers to study the brain and its functions. It has been especially enlightening when it comes to the structure of the brain and how it can affect many different components. Neuroimaging technology has demonstrated that a healthy person's brain looks different than that of a person's brain who has schizophrenia. The brains of patients with schizophrenia often show more gray matter, cavities filled with fluids near the center of the brain, and areas showing dramatically less or more activity than that of the normal brain.

brain developing schizophrenia

Social Factors

Researchers, scientists and those involved in psychology and psychiatry have found that another cause of schizophrenia may be varying social factors in the patient's life. This can include dysfunction in their interaction with parents, siblings, and people in authoritative positions. Schizophrenia can affect job performance. It can also affect romantic relationships and friendships.

factors developing schizophrenia

Fetal Development

Research is beginning to show that stress during fetal development could also be a cause for schizophrenia and other similar mental illnesses. Intrauterine starvation or growth restriction can cause the fetus to fail to meet its growth potential. This can cause a series of problems, including issues in the way that the brain functions. Illnesses that the mother has during pregnancy, such as a viral infection, can also make the unborn child more prone to schizophrenia in its adult life. Other factors can also include premature labor and loss of oxygen.

fetal developing schizophrenia

Drug Use

Studies have shown that drug abuse can dramatically impact an individual's risk for developing mental illnesses. If a person already has risk factors that make them more susceptible to developing schizophrenia, numerous recreational drugs can increase the risk of the development of schizophrenia.

drug use developing schizophrenia

Stress

Research has shown that stress can be closely related to schizophrenia. However, it is not known if the stress actually triggers the mental illness, or if it simply "wakes up" from something similar to a dormant state. Major, dramatic life changes seem to be the key triggers. For example, these may include losing a loved one, needing to change jobs, and the end of a significant relationship. It has not been noted whether a patient who seeks treatment during a traumatic event is less likely to develop a mental illness like schizophrenia.

stress developing schizophrenia

Abuse

Recent studies show a connection between abuse and schizophrenia. This abuse can be either emotional or physical. It seems to have more of an impact when it occurs during early childhood development. However, any type of abuse that occurs at any stage of life can be a trigger for individuals who are already susceptible to developing schizophrenia.

abuse developing schizophrenia

Poor Nutrition

Poor nutrition is not a direct cause of schizophrenia. However, when coupled with other factors, it can create an environment that can lead to the development of a number of mental health conditions, including schizophrenia. Studies have shown that malnutrition can directly affect the brain and its functions, which can lead to a lasting effect. Poor nutrition is particularly damaging when it occurs during early childhood.

nutrition developing schizophrenia

Disclaimer

This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.