Schizophrenia has been diagnosed by one percent of the population all over the world. There is a cultural differences pertaining to the perception of what causes the syndrome of schizophrenia. While studying the causes of schizophrenia, one must understand how genetic, biological, and environmental factors contribute to causes of the disorder.
Schizophrenia is a chronic, severe, and disabling brain disease. It affects millions of people worldwide. Schizophrenia occurs equally amongst men and women. However, symptoms show up earlier in men than they do in women. People diagnosed with schizophrenia, “suffer terrifying symptoms such as hearing internal voices not heard by others, or believing that other people are reading their minds, controlling their thoughts, or plotting to harm them” (Karayiorgou, M., & Gogos, J., 2006). Schizophrenia may also impair speech, causing people to not make sense when they talk. People with the disorder appear to be normal until they talk about what really is going on in their mind. As schizophrenia progresses, people experience symptoms that include hallucinations and illusions, delusions, disordered thinking, lack of emotional expression, and inappropriate reactions. Some schizophrenic patients have trouble keeping a job and tend to have to rely on others for support.
The illness is treated with antipsychotic drugs, electroconvulsive therapy, psychotherapy, family support services, and rehabilitation programs. Schizophrenia cannot be cured. Some of the possible effects of schizophrenia are relationship problems, disruption to normal daily activities, alcohol and drug abuse, and increased suicide risk. Schizophrenics often withdraw and isolate themselves from friends and family. Normal daily activities like bathing, eating, or running errands become difficult due to delusion, hallucinations, and illusions. Some people with schizophrenia develop problems with alcohol or drugs and may also become heavy smokers. People with schizophrenia are very likely to commit suicide during psychotic episodes, during periods of depression, and in the first six months after they’ve started treatment. (Understanding Schizophrenia).
Causes of Schizophrenia
There is not a single cause for schizophrenia. It can be diagnosed by anyone. It is the result of genetic, psychological, and environmental factors (Schizophrenia Symptoms). For developing schizophrenia there must be more than one cause to develop the disorder. Many factors can help contribute the development of the disorder. We know that domineering mothers or passive fathers, poverty, weakness of character or personality, bad parenting, drug and alcohol abuse, or sinful behavior do not cause schizophrenia.
Since we inherit genes from both parents many scientists believe several genes are associated with the causation of schizophrenia. “At the beginning of the 20th century, it was strongly suspected that some cases of schizophrenia were genetic in origin” (Opler, Perrin, Kleinhaus, Malaspina, 2008). Schizophrenia occurs in ten percent of people who have a parent or a sibling diagnosed with the disorder, additionally people with aunts, uncles, grandparents, or cousins diagnosed with schizophrenia are also more likely to have the disorder (Cardno, Gottesman II). Recent twin studies show, “the concordance rate in monozygotic twins ranges from 44% to 79%, and among dizygotic twins the concordance rate ranges from 4% to 17%” (Opler, 2008). However, almost sixty percent of people with schizophrenia have no close relatives with the illness. No single gene can cause the disorder, but if many genes with small effects team up it can increase the risk of the illness.
Chromosome studies have been conducted to see if there is any relation to the disorder, “the strongest evidence to date leads to chromosomes 13 and 6 but remains unconfirmed” (Schizophrenia Cause and Prevention). Also chemical levels may be too high or too low, “many researchers believe that people with schizophrenia are either very sensitive to a brain chemical called dopamine, or produce too much of it” (What Causes Schizophrenia?). A dopamine imbalance can affect how a person’s brain reacts to stimuli. Now that we have better technology, researchers are able to study the brain structure more closely and have concluded that individuals with schizophrenia have abnormalities in their brain structure. Scientists are now able to see, “aˆ¦ a slight enlargement of the fluid-filled cavities (ventricles) in the brain, and a slightly smaller size of some areas of the brain” (What Causes Schizophrenia?). Not all people who have this brain structure are schizophrenic, and not all schizophrenics have this brain structure. People with schizophrenia appear to have a neuro-chemical imbalance. Modern antipsychotic medications now primarily target three different neurotransmitter systems (dopamine, serotonin, and nor epinephrine). People with schizophrenia appear to have difficulty coordinating activity between different areas of the brain.
Nutrition is very important, “aˆ¦ lack of specific micronutrients and general nutritional deprivation have been previously implicated as risk factors for broad developmental disruption and for schizophrenia specifically” (Opler, 2008). High levels of stress could trigger the body’s production of the human cortisol. Pregnancy seems to be very crucial. An expecting mother needs to very careful that she is not exposed to any infections, especially during the first trimmest. The second and third trimesters do not increase the risk of developing the disorder as much. Stress-inducing environmental factors that may be involved in schizophrenia include prenatal exposure to a viral infection, exposure to a virus during infancy, low oxygen levels during birth (from prolonged labor or premature birth), early parental loss or separation, and physical or sexual abuse in childhood (Understanding Schizophrenia). There is still not any evidence found to prove whether or not stress is a cause of schizophrenia. Emotionally significant events will precede an episode of illness, but the basis for the illness must already be present. Men who have children when they are 45-49 years of age and greater than 50 years of age had twice and three times the risk for developing schizophrenia, respectively, as the children of men less than 25 years of age. Maternal age has not been studied yet (Opler, 2008). Drugs do not cause a person to be diagnosed with schizophrenia. Certain drugs can make symptoms worse or trigger a psychotic episode if a person already has schizophrenia.
Compare and Contrast the Beliefs for the Causes of Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia is seen differently amongst people of different cultures. The British favor more scientific and biological factors as being the causes of schizophrenia (Furnham & Chan, 2004). In a Sri Lankan society, it is common that having a member of the family with any serious mental illness may influence the way in which that whole family is perceived; that is, the family’s reputation is thought to be negatively affected (Carpenter, 1987). Both the cultural groups agree that traumatic events such as childhood abuse could very well be the cause of schizophrenia. In Pakistan, “despite majority of the study population being well educated, only a few recognized schizophrenia as a mental illness and many held superstitious beliefs. A vast majority of Pakistanis have non-biomedical beliefs about the cause of schizophrenia” (Zafar, Syed, Tehseen, Gowani, Waqar, Zubair, Naqvi, 2008). In Australia, the predominant belief for schizophrenia was social environmental causes and genetic factors (Jorm, Christensen, Griffiths, 2005). It seems likely less developed countries look at schizophrenia differently than those from more developed countries. More developed countries tend to view schizophrenia as an outcome of a scientific cause rather than an environmental cause or anything else.
Many things causes lead to the development of schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that is incurable. It is devastating when one is diagnosed with the disorder. It occurs in one percent of the population, with the first onset occurring in late adolescence and early adulthood. Since schizophrenia is not a single illness it has overlapping signs and symptoms. Schizophrenia is a devastating illness for not only the patient but also friends and family. Schizophrenia is a severe mental illness. It affects all aspects of life, including perception, thought, judgment, mood, drive, and personality.
Diagnosing schizophrenia is difficult because there is no single symptom or specific cause for this phenomenon. Many factors can cause schizophrenia to occur. Genetic, biological, and environmental causes are the causes most popularly studied. A single cause of schizophrenia has yet to be identified. There are most likely to be several contributing factors. People of different cultural backgrounds look at schizophrenia differently. They also invent their own perspective of how the believe schizophrenia comes about in an individual.
The Schizophrenia Fellowship say that, “it should be acknowledged that schizophrenia is a potentially a severe disorder. A significant number of people with schizophrenia experience negative outcomes.” It should definitely be taken seriously and treated immediately. There is hope for this illness. Schizophrenics do recover somewhat, or at least learn how to cope with the illness.