Although cases of suspected schizophrenia have been recorded throughout history, its causes have never been really understood until recent times. As recent as the middle of the 20th century, schizophrenia cause has been completely attributed to genetics. How true is this, in the light of modern medicine today?
The fact is schizophrenia is a complex illness and no single schizophrenia cause has been found. There are however a number of theories including the following –
The fact remains that schizophrenia can be genetically handed down in some families. Someone who has a family member with the disorder has a 10 percent chance of inheriting it. This goes up to 40 percent if the disorder affects both your parents.
Compare this with the general statistic of about 1 percent of the normal population getting schizophrenia at some point in their lives. Having said this more than 60 percent of schizophrenia sufferers do not get it from a family member.
2. Brain abnormality
Studies have shown that a number of schizophrenics have certain abnormalities in their brain structure, including slightly larger fluid-filled cavities, and other parts of the brain which are smaller than normal. However, this is not totally conclusive as not every schizophrenia patient shows these abnormalities. Additionally similar abnormalities can be found I people without the disorder.
3. Imbalance of dopamine
Scientists believe that schizophrenics might naturally “over-“ produce a brain chemical called dopamine, a neurotransmitter or substance that enables nerve cells to pass messages to one another. Any imbalance of dopamine will affect how someone’s brain responds to various stimuli.
4. Pregnancy and birth complications
Schizophrenia in a young child could be caused by malnutrition or an infection that develops during pregnancy or even by complications experienced by a mother during birth. The disorder may not be evident and will only appear as the child gets older.
5. Drug abuse
There is some evidence that substance abuse can cause the development of schizophrenia although this is not conclusive. More likely, it makes the symptoms worse or accelerates them, or interferes in treatment.
Even as we look at schizophrenia causes, we need to look at some untruths about what causes this disorder. Schizophrenia is NOT caused by – poverty, a domineering mother and/or a passive father, bad parenting, a weak character, sin.
While it’s important to understand schizophrenia causes, more importantly, family members and friends of a patient must understand that their support is crucial to his or her recovery and ability to lead a normal life again