September 1, 2015
font size

Schizophrenia (cont.)

Medical Author:
Medical Editor:

How common is schizophrenia in children?

Although there have been fewer studies on schizophrenia in children compared to adults, researchers are finding that children as young as 6 years old can be found to have all the symptoms of their adult counterparts and to continue to have those symptoms into adulthood.

What is the history of schizophrenia?

The term schizophrenia has only been in use since 1911. Soon before that, it was deemed a separate mental illness in 1887 by Emil Kraepelin. Despite that relatively recent history, it has been described throughout written history. Ancient Egyptian, Hindu, Chinese, Greek, and Roman writings described symptoms similar to the positive symptoms of schizophrenia. During medieval times, schizophrenia, like other illnesses, was often viewed as evidence of the sufferer being possessed by spirits or evil powers.

A number of accomplished individuals suffer from schizophrenia. The film A Beautiful Mind depicts the life of John Nash, a noted scientist, and his struggles with paranoid schizophrenia. The film The Soloist explores the challenges faced by Juilliard-trained musician Nathaniel Ayers as a result of schizophrenia. Despite those prominent portrayals of people with schizophrenia, this condition, like most mental illnesses, usually remain shrouded in secrecy and shame that goes beyond maintaining confidentiality.

What are schizophrenia causes? Is schizophrenia hereditary?

One frequently asked question about schizophrenia is if it is hereditary. As with most other mental disorders, schizophrenia is not directly passed from one generation to another genetically, and there is no single cause for this illness. Rather, it is the result of a complex group of genetic and other biological tendencies, as well as psychological and environmental risk factors. Biologically, it is thought that people who have abnormalities in the brain neurochemical dopamine are at higher risk for developing the disorder. Genetically, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder have much in common, in that the two disorders share a number of the same risk genes. However, the fact is that both illnesses also have some genetic factors that are unique. There are some genetic commonalities with schizophrenia and epilepsy as well.

Environmentally, the risks of developing schizophrenia can even occur before birth. For example, the risk of schizophrenia is increased in individuals whose mother had one of certain infections during pregnancy. Difficult life circumstances during childhood, like the early loss of a parent, parental poverty, bullying, witnessing parental violence; being the victim of emotional, sexual, or physical abuse or of physical or emotional neglect; and insecure attachment have been associated with increased risks of developing this illness. Even factors like how well represented an ethnic group is in a neighborhood can be a risk or protective factor for developing schizophrenia. For example, some research indicates that ethnic minorities may be more at risk for developing this disorder if there are fewer members of the ethnic group to which the individual belongs in their neighborhood.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/14/2015

Source: MedicineNet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/schizophrenia/article.htm

Emotional Wellness

Get tips on therapy and treatment.

advertisement
advertisement
Use Pill Finder Find it Now See Interactions

Pill Identifier on RxList

  • quick, easy,
    pill identification

Find a Local Pharmacy

  • including 24 hour, pharmacies

Interaction Checker

  • Check potential drug interactions
Search the Medical Dictionary for Health Definitions & Medical Abbreviations