For many people, mental illness is an all-too-common part of their lives. Any kind of mental health condition (when left untreated) can elicit pervasive and continuous issues that impact very aspect of their being, causing them to continue to struggle with a cycle of upset. Those who struggle with schizophrenia have detailed battles of their own, specifically in staying connected to reality and the world around them. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the worldwide prevalence of schizophrenia is 1%. This mental health condition tends to begin to trigger symptoms in those who are affected between the ages of 16 and 30, and symptoms can continue for a lifetime if they are not properly addressed.
Signs and Symptoms of Schizophrenia
Those who are diagnosed with this condition will experience a range of painful and upsetting symptoms, including, however not limited to, the following:
- Flat affect
- Inability to focus
- Memory problems
- Troubling starting and following through with tasks
- Decreased speaking
- Thought disturbances
Scientists and researchers have deduced that schizophrenia can be caused by a variety of different things, including one’s environment, genetic makeup, and brain chemistry and structure. Thankfully, there is treatment that includes the use of medications and specialized therapy that can help those who are faced with this condition. Unfortunately, many individuals who have schizophrenia might not obtain the help they need, especially if they believe that they are not actually plagued with this condition.
Groundbreaking Developments on Schizophrenia Causes
A team of researchers from Harvard, Boston Children’s Hospital, and Broad Institute have uncovered new science behind a possible cause of schizophrenia. Up until recently, scientists and researchers have known that some of the issues that can lead to schizophrenia include the loss of gray matter in one’s brain, as well as smaller numbers of synaptic structures. However, a comprehensive understanding of why this occurs has not been developed.
Published in the most recent edition of Nature, the researchers have developed a hypothesis that states those with schizophrenia possess a variation of the C4 gene, which is responsible for producing two different kinds of proteins, C4-A and C4-B. Based on the researched conducted on over 60,000 people with schizophrenia, those with the illness possessed C4 genes that produced an excess of the C4-A protein. This means that those who have schizophrenia and who have these genes struggle with being able to remove their brain of unnecessary information with the help of cells that would otherwise clear out information that is not needed. As a result, someone with schizophrenia and this gene are stuck with an incredibly foggy mindset and weaker, less healthy brain functioning.
While this research has served to provide more information regarding how schizophrenia develops and occurs, it does not mean that a cure has been found – just a stronger understanding of the condition itself.
In addition, if an individual does inherit this specific gene, it does not mean that he or she will develop schizophrenia, although his or her odds are greater. Uncovering key factors such as these researchers have can help build a more solid case surrounding the development of this condition, as well as how it impacts individuals, in a manner that will allow them to hopefully make progress on the treatment and/or prevention of this condition in the future.
Other Causes of the Development of Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia, like a majority of other mental health conditions, possesses a number of potential causes for its development. For example, one’s environment can trigger the onset of this condition, as science has shown that issues such as exposure to viruses or malnutrition prior to birth, issues during birth, and heavy adolescent abuse of marijuana can cause the onset of this condition. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), schizophrenia can be present in those who do not have blood relatives with the condition.
On the other hand, the NIMH also reports that for many with schizophrenia, the condition has occurred in other blood relatives, showing that there is also a genetic component to the development of this mental illness. Research has shown that there is not one specific, singular gene that can cause the development of schizophrenia, rather a number of different genes.
Similar to the most recent study from the researchers out of the Boston area, researchers have also deduced that specific brain structures and chemistry also play a role in if an individual will develop schizophrenia. For instance, it is believed that chemical reactions that include the neurotransmitters dopamine and glutamate can be a cause of this condition. Additionally, any problems with brain development prior to birth can lead to problematic connections, which can be triggered during puberty, leading to the emergence of schizophrenia.
At Options Behavioral Health System, we understand all aspects of schizophrenia, from the scientific side to the personal side. We realize how painful it can be for the afflicted individual and his or her loved ones to continue down a path of mental illness without obtaining any treatment. At our center, we offer the therapeutic modalities and support needed to help those who are grappling with this troubling condition overcome their challenges and begin living happy, healthy lives. Do not wait any longer. Call us right now for the help you deserve.