Tuesday, September 4, 2012

What Are The Possible Causes Of Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a rare and frightening brain disorder. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, this chronic and severe mental condition affects only 1 percent of the U.S. population. While the exact cause of schizophrenia is unclear, both environmental and genetic issue appear to play a role in its development.


People with schizophrenia may suffer from hallucinations and see or hear things that don't exist. Oftentimes these imaginary voices are commanding in nature.

Schizophrenics can also become paranoid and fearful that other people can read or control their minds and plot against them.

Schizophrenia can cause tremendous agitation, fearfulness and a tendency to withdrawal. These responses often make it hard for schizophrenics to keep a job or properly take care of themselves.


Although schizophrenia occurs in 1 percent of the overall population, the chance of suffering from the disease jumps to 10 percent when a person has a first-degree relative (parents or siblings) who suffers from the brain malady. The identical twin of a person with schizophrenia has approximately a 50-50 chance of developing the disease.

Problems in the Womb

Information compiled by the Mayo Clinic says that exposure to unhealthy conditions such as viruses or malnutrition in the womb may set the stage for schizophrenia.

Older Parents

According to the Mayo Clinic, there is a greater likelihood of schizophrenia among people born to older parents.

Defective Brain Chemistry

A disparity in the intricate and interrelated chemical responses of the brain in relation to the neurotransmitters (substances that allow brain cells to communicate with each other) may have a part in the development of schizophrenia.

Subtle Brain Differences

The brains of people with schizophrenia appear slightly different from those of mentally healthy people. In some schizophrenics, the fluid-filled openings at the center of the brain are larger than normal and some parts of the brain may show higher or lower levels of metabolic activity.

According to the NIMH, one theory suggests that developmental issues in the brain resulted in defective connections that remain dormant until puberty. Since puberty is a time when major changes occur in the brain, these alterations may set off symptoms of psychosis.

Other Possible Risks

The Mayo Clinic lists extreme stress or the use of mood-altering drugs in adolescence as possibly playing a role in the development of schizophrenia.

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