Schizophrenia - Causes and Treatment

Schizophrenia is a developmental brain disorder that is characterized by patients having abnormalities in perception. A physician can help in treating this disorder. Read more to know about the causes and treatment of this disorder.
PsycholoGenie Staff
People who suffer from this brain disorder often fall prey to poor concentration, lack of problem-solving ability, and loss of interest in his/her surrounding world. They suffer from psychotic illness characterized by noticeable mood disorders, such as inappropriate smiling, laughing, grimacing, etc. A patient may also suffer from apathetic immobility and exhibit violent behavior, motor abnormalities like frowning, odd mannerisms, ritualistic or stereotyped behavior.
An individual who suffers from schizophrenia may have perceptions of reality that are completely different from the reality that others see. Thus, they live in a world of their own, distorted by hallucinations and delusions and may feel frightened, anxious and confused. The extreme severity of this psychotic disorder may even lead one to commit suicide, losing hope in life. Generally, schizophrenia occurs during teenage years to mid-30s. Sometimes, it begins in the later years of life.
Causes of Schizophrenia
Like other disorders, schizophrenia occurs due to various causes. Extensive research has found that there are two main causes viz. environmental factors and genetic factors that lead to schizophrenia.
Genetic Factors
Genes play a vital role in carrying the risk of schizophrenia among the family members. Individuals who have a close relative with schizophrenia are more prone to develop the disorder. In a family, if one of the parents suffers from this illness, then the child also bears the risk. People may develop schizophrenia due to high level of genetic risk. Individuals who have relatives like aunts, uncles, grandparents or cousins with this illness may also develop schizophrenia more often than the general population.
Environmental Factors
There are many environmental factors that cause schizophrenia in people. These are exposure to viruses, undernourishment in the womb, problems during birth and psychosocial factors like stress. Often a pregnant woman gets infected by viral infection. This viral infection may damage the nervous system of a baby before birth.
Schizophrenia also occurs due to extreme stress. There are various factors of stress such as anger, frustration, agony, depression and anxiety. All these factors cause psychotic disorders, such as hallucination, delusions, disorganized thought, abnormal emotional expression and distorted perceptions of reality. Many people suffer due to extreme stress from their childhood to adulthood. This extreme suffering of stress for a long period may lead to schizophrenia.
Chemical Imbalance in the Brain
Apart from genetic and environmental factors, schizophrenia could also occur due to imbalance of chemical reactions in brain. According to research findings, the imbalance of neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and glutamate can lead to schizophrenia.
There are various types of schizophrenia, such as disorganized type, paranoid type, residual type, which can be treated with proper counseling and medication. One can treat schizophrenia after finding out the cause of the disease. The main aim of the treatment is to eradicate the symptoms and to lessen the severity of the illness. Schizophrenia treatment includes usage of various types of medicines and drugs. These are discussed below:
For treating schizophrenia some anti-psychotic medicines are advised by the physicians. For example, haloperidol and chlorpromazine are useful to lessen anxiety and delusion problem; while other drugs like risperidone, olanzapine and quetiapine help in reducing risk for relapse. However, these medicines should be taken only under the proper guidance of a doctor.
To treat suicidal behavior of the patient, antipsychotic medicines can be used. Antidepressant medicines, such as nortriptylin, sertraline are used to lessen depression. There are other anticonvulsant medicines, which help in reducing anxiety and nervousness. Some medicines are used to lessen the effect of imbalance in the chemical reaction of brain. Beside these, they help in reducing all kinds of psychotic symptoms, such as depression, hallucination, delusion, nervousness, etc.
Proper use of medicines helps a patient of schizophrenia to act more efficiently. However, these medicines have their side effects too. In such cases, proper professional counseling is essential to eliminate the causes of schizophrenia
Emotional Support
Love, care and overall support of the family as well as community, go a long way in treating a patient suffering from schizophrenia. The love and attention of the family members can lessen the depression, nervousness and other psychotic problems of the victim.
Schizophrenia is a chronic disorder that requires continuous attention and care. Sometimes supportive therapy or rehabilitation can also prove helpful to the patients of schizophrenia. They should undergo medication on a regular basis as per the doctor's treatment.