What is Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a mental health disorder that causes severe and distressing
changes to the way a person perceives reality. The disorder, which is
usually diagnosed during the first few decades of life, can be debilitating.
Men often begin displaying symptoms of schizophrenia earlier than women.
Causes of Schizophrenia
Different things can trigger the onset of schizophrenia. However, researchers
have narrowed it down to a few factors.
It’s known that schizophrenia runs in families. There isn’t
a single gene that guarantees that someone will develop the disorder though.
However, there are a variety of genes that can increase a person’s
risk. At this time, doctors are unable to predict whether a child will
develop the disorder by testing genetics. This might be a possibility
in the future though as researchers continue to examine the various contributing
genetic factors that can cause a person to develop schizophrenia.
Trauma and Other Environmental Factors
If someone has genetic factors that make them more susceptible to developing
schizophrenia, environmental issues may be more likely to trigger the disorder.
Some of the traumatic factors that may play a role in the development of
- Living in poverty
- Experiencing ongoing stress or violence
- Exposure to certain viral infections while in the womb
- Suffering from malnutrition as a fetus
Scientists believe it’s the interplay between trauma and genetics
that can cause schizophrenia. That said, it’s possible to develop
schizophrenia even without a traumatic past.
Brain Chemistry and Structure
Brain structure is another important area of research that relates to schizophrenia.
The human brain operates using neurotransmitters, which are essentially
Researchers have discovered profound differences in neurotransmitter behavior,
brain connections, and other aspects of brain functionality in patients
It’s believed that these changes in the brain occur prior to birth.
When the person reaches adolescence and begins experiencing the chemical
and hormonal changes of puberty, the first of the psychotic episodes often begin.
Past Substance Abuse
Abusing substances does not directly cause schizophrenia. Nonetheless,
it can trigger an earlier onset of schizophrenia symptoms in those who
are genetically predisposed to developing the disorder. Past substance
abuse can also increase the risk of developing schizophrenia in the first place.
Research shows that teens and young adults who abuse cannabis are more
likely to develop schizophrenia later on in life. Other drugs that can
increase the risk of developing schizophrenia
include cocaine, amphetamines, and LSD. These drugs can both trigger and worsen the condition
Schizophrenia often comes on gradually. A number of minor schizophrenia
symptoms may present prior to the first major psychotic episode.
Someone in the early stages of schizophrenia may struggle with focus or
memory. These symptoms may also continue or worsen as the condition develops.
Some people with schizophrenia even experience minor cognitive struggles.
For others, these problems are intense and disrupting.
Someone with schizophrenia may struggle to focus on conversations, remember
things, or make decisions. Processing information may begin to feel difficult.
In some schizophrenic patients, issues with motor control may also develop.
Struggles with Depression
The symptoms of schizophrenia can mimic those of depression. For example,
people that suffer from schizophrenia may lose motivation to partake in
activities that they once enjoyed. They may withdraw socially, struggle
with personal hygiene, and generally feel “flat.”
Some people find it difficult to speak or even make eye contact with others.
They may also be unable to plan activities or follow a schedule. This
can interfere with work, school, and personal relationships.
This is the most well-known schizophrenia symptom. People with the disorder
often lose touch with reality and begin developing false theories or ideas
about the world around them. These theories are often coupled with intense
feelings of paranoia.
For example, the person may begin to suspect the government is watching
them. They may become suspicious of those they love or start to feel unsafe
in their own home. Hallucinations, which are another common symptom, often
worsen this paranoia.
Hallucinations can come in the form of visions, sounds, smells, or other
sensory experiences. These frightening experiences often play into the
paranoid delusions the person is developing, confirming they have a reason
to feel scared.
As time goes on, the person may start to suspect friends and loved ones
are out to harm them. The combination of paranoia and hallucinations causes
the person to isolate themselves. It’s during this time that many
patients begin abusing substances as a way of self-medicating. Unfortunately,
drug use will only worsen the condition.
Receive Help for Schizophrenia and Drug Abuse at Grace Land Recovery is Here
Not only can schizophrenia destroy individual lives, but it can also cause
the patient’s family a great deal of distress. If you are suffering
from schizophrenia and addiction, know that it’s never too late
to turn things around. If you have a loved one who is suffering from this
co-occurring disorder, don’t wait to act. Grace Land Recovery is
here to offer the hope you and your family deserve.
Our dual-diagnosis treatment center is located in Memphis, Tennessee. We
aim to treat schizophrenia and addiction by caring for the patient’s
mind, body, and soul. We believe this holistic approach provides each
of our patients with the greatest chance of success.
Some of the treatment methods that we offer include:
- Professional diagnosis and psychiatric care
- Individual and group therapy
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Dialectical behavioral therapy
- Experiential therapy
- Rational emotive therapy
- Clinical groups on nutrition, emotional regulation, and other important topics
- Medication management
Today can be the day your life changes forever. Receive the help you deserve
from an experienced and compassionate treatment team. If you’re
ready to enter treatment for schizophrenia and addiction, pleasecontact us now. Our representatives are available to answer your questions 24 hours a day.