About Schizophrenia is known already for many centuries. All this time, both its manifestations and the reasons were explained in a variety of ways. However, it was described precisely as a separate disease at the beginning of the twentieth century. Its boundaries periodically changed (expanded and narrowed), even throughout the twentieth century, when, it would seem, science had already stepped far forward. However, and to date it has not yet entirely clear what exactly is it is a disease. Therefore, both the determination of the causes and the diagnosis of schizophrenia are very crucial moments for a psychiatrist.
The causes of schizophrenia
Whereas, in view of diversity and ambiguity of symptoms of schizophrenia are called a group of mental disorders, then , and a clear definition of the specific reasons for its occurrence does not exist. There are a number of models for the onset of schizophrenia. This is a biological, social and psychological, as well as a mixed, biopsychosocial model.
The biological causes of schizophrenia include the characteristics of the development and functioning of the body. In particular, these are:
- infectious (viral) diseases that the mother suffered during pregnancy, or that the child suffered from in early childhood. It is believed that cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex virus types I and II , Epstein-Barr virus and, possibly, rubella virus may be one of the causes of schizophrenia.
- genetic factors, which in 50% of cases determine the likelihood of developing schizophrenia in pairs of identical twins and in 7-10% if one of the parents is sick ;
- immune (autoimmune) factors, which are explained by the immune response of the fetus to the production of antibodies by the mother’s immune system in response to a viral infection;
- intoxication with various substances (for example, cannabinoids) can also cause schizophrenic symptoms, and some scientists have evidence that the manifestation of schizophrenia (Schizophrenia. VL Minutko).
Even before the manifestation of the disease itself, a person has such features as:
- self- absorption
- a tendency to abstract reasoning,
- difficulties in contacts with others,
- difficulty in formulating thoughts,
- difficulties in coping with stress, great sensitivity to it,
- suspiciousness, stubbornness,
- a kind of vulnerability: a trifle can greatly upset, and the loss of a loved one does not touch.
Social causes of schizophrenia
- Urbanization (the incidence of schizophrenia in cities is higher than in rural areas).
- Family relationships (it is noted that an expressive, overly emotional and dominant mother) can provoke exacerbations of schizophrenia in a child;
Many scientists are now coming to the conclusion that it is impossible to clearly differentiate and separate the three groups of reasons, and because it is a group of diseases biopsychosocial origin, then , and the causes of schizophrenia should be considered in the complex. That is, based on the popular today “vulnerability-stress” model , almost everyone has a vulnerability in relation to one or another mental illness. This is a biological predisposition, but the development of this disease (in this case, schizophrenia) depends on the cumulative impact of adverse psychosocial factors. And vice versa: even in the presence of a biological predisposition, a person may never get sick with a mental illness if psychosocial factors are most favorable for him. But lingering stress, acting for a long time, strong, very frequent emotional experiences, hormonal changes in adolescence can exceed the threshold of stress resistance, disrupt compensatory mechanisms and lead to the first attack of schizophrenia.
Diagnosis and treatment of schizophrenia depends on the cause
Effective diagnosis and treatment of schizophrenia directly depends on determining the causes of its occurrence. After all, knowing them, humanity will have the opportunity, among other things, to prevent the development of this disease.
We need to remember that, contrary to current myths, schizophrenia is treatable. Adequate rehabilitation measures , family psychotherapy and reasonable pharmacological treatment can make the life of a schizophrenic patient full and active.
Timely assistance, that is, an appeal to specialists, even before an acute psychotic state occurs, significantly affects the prognosis of the further course of the disease. Often, the manifestations of schizophrenia can grow gradually, manifesting at first with negative symptoms: apathy, lack of will, lethargy, impaired thinking, a desire to isolate oneself from the outside world, self-absorption. At this time, others can only periodically notice that something is wrong with their loved one . And already at this time you should at least just consult a doctor.
Although, experts note that the most favorable prognosis has that variant of the disease, where the first attack of schizophrenia develops suddenly.
At the first signs of psychosis, you should immediately seek emergency medical help, since statistics show that the sooner an acute condition is stopped, the more likely a favorable outcome of the entire disease is.
In the case of timely relief of a single acute psychosis, in 25 % of patients such episodes in their lives never recur. In the event that no help is provided, or the treatment is carried out poorly, not completely, the likelihood of repeated relapse is about 70 %.
Naturally, in the presence of acute signs of schizophrenia, it is best to place a person in a hospital, since often such a condition can threaten not only the people around him , but also himself. As the acute condition is treated, a stabilization phase begins, which lasts from six months or more. An attentive attitude to the patient, teaching him to recognize the signals of a relapse of the disease, significantly reduces the risk of another exacerbation.