Schizophrenia Guide: Symptoms, Treatment Tips

Causes of Schizophrenia

From research, it has been clear that there is no single known cause for schizophrenia. Many other diseases like heart disease is caused by interaction between many factors like genetic, behavioral, etc and schizophrenia also comes under this category.

It has known since long that schizophrenia is a genetically inherited disease and runs in families. Persons with close relatives affected with schizophrenia are generally more likely to get schizophrenia than people with no relatives with schizophrenia at all. A good example is that a person is 40-50% more likely to develop schizophrenia when he has an identical twin affected with schizophrenia. And another illustration is that a child is 10% more likely to get schizophrenia when his parent is affected with schizophrenia. And the risk is just 1% in the normal population to develop schizophrenia.

Causes of Schizophrenia in Children

Research has not yet given any clear evidence behind the cause or causes of schizophrenia. Some evidences indicate that schizophrenia is a neurological disorder caused by

  • A genetically derived disease
  • Any injury occurred during brain development prior to the birth of the child
  • Traumatic life events

Genetics playing a role in diseases have been known from long. The probability of occurrence of schizophrenia increases by 1% in persons who has no family history to 10% in persons with a first-degree relative. And the risk increases to 50% in case of an identical twin. Prenatal brain injury may include

Diagnosis of Schizophrenia

Schizophrenic symptoms can be terrifying for the affected person or for their observing friends and the loved ones. If a person experiences schizophrenic symptoms, it is strongly recommended to get the consultation of a doctor immediately. A psychiatrist will better diagnose the symptoms and gives his results accurately. Sometimes, the symptoms may represent a similar illness if not schizophrenia which must be treated. And if it is schizophrenia, the treatment must be started soon after diagnosis at least for better recovery.

Schizophrenia can be classified as a mental illness that comes under psychotic disorders. Schizophrenic patients have psychosis symptoms which keeps them out of touch with reality. There are many other illnesses which include psychotic symptoms. There are no specific tests like blood or brain test for diagnosing schizophrenia. There are specially trained out people to diagnose schizophrenia accurately. The trained people perform several interviews along with some psychological tests to find out the current beliefs, history and symptoms of the patient.

How Does Schizophrenia Manifest?

The diagnosis of a child with schizophrenia is certainly shocking news to the child?s parents since they cannot figure out the reason for the occurrence of schizophrenia in spite of their child being intelligent and bright without the symptoms of any illness. Schizophrenia occurs with symptoms similar to other diseases but the only difference is that these symptoms may vary between individuals.

It is possible for just a single schizophrenic episode in the entire life time of some people whereas in others, schizophrenia can manifest frequently and also for a longer duration than normal. The family members are the first persons to observe the changes in behavior in the person. They tend to notice that the affected person is not behaving as usual and hence prefer to visit a doctor for a check up.

Link between Marijuana and Schizophrenia

Everyone wonders if there is a connection between schizophrenia and marijuana? Even the research has been conducted by combining both the symptoms. It has been shown that there exists a connection between schizophrenic-like symptoms and use of marijuana in people.

In 2005, a study has found many similarities between the patients affected with schizophrenia and the adolescents who are using or used marijuana. The scientists in North Shore University Hospital-Long Island Jewish Healthcare System has identified that an underdeveloped region linking the front side to the deeper regions of the brain (arcuate nucleus) in both the schizophrenia patients and the regular marijuana users. It was only underdeveloped on the left area in schizophrenia patients and marijuana users, but on both sides in those schizophrenia patients who consume marijuana.

Psychosocial Therapy for Schizophrenics

Psychosocial therapy is one of the treatment modes for schizophrenia. It involves educating the people regarding the illness and its management skills, talk therapy and vocational counseling. Several studies have proved the effectiveness of psychosocial therapy in dealing with communication, work, self-care, maintenance of relationships and motivation difficulties in the affected person. But this must assist the schizophrenic people under medication to deal with its symptoms.

With the help of this therapy, patients can easily cope with their daily activities. They can behave as normal people. Such people stick to medication schedules correctly and hence experience less number of attacks. Constant positive relationship with the doctor is essential for proper recovery. By clearly detailing the nature, causes, need for medication for schizophrenia, and the doctor can assist the patients better.

Research on Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is often found to be associated with many other effects like substance and drug abuse, smoking, suicide, violence, etc. Schizophrenic people tend to shift towards substance and drug abuse frequently than the normal population.

Again people abusing drugs show very similar symptoms like schizophrenic people. People consuming high doses of drugs are often misdiagnosed to develop schizophrenia. Substance abuse can lower the effect of the treatment for schizophrenia. Drugs like amphetamines or cocaine, marijuana and PCP can worsen the schizophrenic symptoms. Besides substance abuse forces the patients to stop the treatment plan and resort to drug abuse alone.

The most common type of substance abuse in schizophrenic people is a craving for nicotine. Studies have proved that schizophrenic patients addict to nicotine 3 times more likely than the normal population (75-90% in schizophrenic patients as compared to 25-30% normal people). Research has made it clear that nicotine is found to interfere with the mechanism of action of antipsychotic drugs and hence people who abuse nicotine must take higher doses of medication than normal.

Risk Factors of Schizophrenia

Through research studies and epidemiology regarding the frequency of occurrence of schizophrenia, scientists have discovered a lot of risk factors involved in the development of schizophrenia. This research has provided indications and guidance for identifying the causes better.

Considering a group of people, a maximum of 1% of the people (nearly 0.8% only as measured by National Comorbidity Study) are diagnosed to have schizophrenia, which amounts to nearly 2.2 million Americans.

However, everyone does not have the same risk of developing schizophrenia. The risk factors are mostly genetically derived and hence schizophrenia is a disease involved with the family members. The most significant of the risk factors in family are


If you are experiencing any thought and behavior symptoms yourself or observing such changes in someone else who is close to you or your loved one or if you are just curious about such illnesses, some fundamental knowledge regarding schizophrenia will enable you to avoid all the misconceptions and misbelieves about the disorder. This article will help you a lot in knowing more about the disease.

Schizophrenia has been prevailing for long and is known to be a severe brain disorder affecting nearly 1% of people irrespective of sex worldwide. It has a throughout recorded history in affecting people. Generally the initial symptoms of schizophrenia normally begins at the early 20?s or in adolescence in men, but women seems to have a late onset most probably in their 20?s or 30?s. Schizophrenia is a sporadic illness, referring that the severity of the symptoms will vary unsteadily over time.

Schizophrenia and the Family Network

Most of the time, the family members of a patient affected with schizophrenia do not provide the needed support for the person. But it is really very essential to build a solid support network within the family, healthcare providers and other people concerned with the affected person. Friends and family members can play a vital role in re-constructing the lost world for the patient. They can aid in setting realistic goals and boosting the ability of the patients in the normal world.

The support for people affected with any mental disorder is especially needed from

  • Family members
  • Friends
  • Roommates
  • Shelter operators
  • Healthcare providers
  • Caregiver
  • Professional case managers
  • All those in the community related to the person

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