Schizophrenia: Signs, Causes & Treatments

Schizophrenia is a mental health condition that affects one out of every 300 people in the world, which adds up to roughly 24 million individuals, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Because there is a stigma surrounding the condition, many people fail to understand its causes or recognize its symptoms. Untreated, schizophrenia can lead to a variety of physical and mental health complications and rob people of the chance to lead happy, productive lives. Fortunately, treatment can make a big difference and lead to positive outcomes. The first step toward getting help is spotting the warning signs of schizophrenia, which this post discusses.

What Causes Schizophrenia?

Doctors and scientists are still working to understand the exact causes of schizophrenia. However, research suggests that the following may play a role:

  • Genes: According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, you’re six times more likely to develop schizophrenia if a close relative has the condition. Because of this, researchers believe that genes likely play a role in determining who gets schizophrenia but have ruled out the possibility that it occurs due to a single genetic variation.
  • Brain chemistry: Low levels of the brain chemicals dopamine and glutamate have been linked with schizophrenia and may cause symptoms by reducing or changing communication between brain cells.
  • Health before and after birth: There is some evidence to suggest that pregnant people who develop viruses or suffer from nutritional deficiencies during the second and third trimesters may be more likely to have a child that develops schizophrenia later in life. Autoimmune disorders may also increase the risk of schizophrenia.
  • Substance abuse: Some studies indicate that using mind-altering drugs, including marijuana, during adolescence may put people more at risk for developing schizophrenia in adulthood.

Continue reading on the next page to discover the syptoms of Schizophrenia, possible treatments and when to seek help.