Tuesday, November 5, 2013

What Is The Cause Of Schizophrenia

What Is the Cause of Schizophrenia?

The Effects of Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a chronic brain disorder that affects how someone thinks and acts, as well as views the world. Schizophrenics struggle with a distorted view of life, with some of them even loosing contact with reality. They may suffer from paranoia, seeing and hearing things nonexistent or speaking in an unusual, confusing fashion. They think others are spying on them and trying to hurt them, making it hard for them to function. The disease can cause victims to isolate from others or act out of fear or confusion. Rather than one clear cause, schizophrenia is likely the result of several factors.


It's unclear if schizophrenia is the result of heredity. One of the many studies done includes one done by Philip Holzman of Harvard University. The results of his study suggested that an eye-tracking disorder connected with schizophrenia can be inherited. Although it's not certain that genetics is the cause of schizophrenia, it's believed it can play an important role in developing the disorder, although many schizophrenics don't have family histories of the disease. Numerous studies have been done on identical twins showing that if one twin has the disease the other twin has about a 40 to 50 percent chance of also developing it.

Prenatal Factors

Because many cases of schizophrenia occur in malnourished countries, it's believed there's a link with poor prenatal nutrition and the disease. Also, when a pregnant woman is under stress, a signal travels to the pituitary gland and then to the adrenal glands where the stress hormone cortisol is secreted. Although the placenta stops most of the cortisol before reaching the fetus, some manages to attack the bloodstream of the unborn child. The fetus can receive the corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH) from the mother's cortisol, forcing the fetus to make its own cortisol. This causes the placenta to make even more CRH, which places the fetus on a perpetual stress-hormone cycle.

Dopamine Imbalances

Billions of brain cells communicate by releasing chemicals called neurotransmitters. Dopamine and serotonin are two neurotransmitters that play a vital role in mental health. When levels of these chemicals are imbalanced, it's believed schizophrenia symptoms can result. For example, excessive dopamine in particular areas of the brain can cause delusions and hallucinations (positive symptoms of schizophrenia). On the other hand, not enough dopamine can result in low energy and feeling unmotivated (negative symptoms of schizophrenia).


Because the brains of children and teenagers are extremely sensitive to stress, they can be affected by continual stress. Damage to the brain from stress can escalate the odds for various types of mental problems later in life. Besides stress, lack of contact with other people during childhood and drug abuse in the home can affect a child's brain, further triggering schizophrenia.

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