Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is an example of an often debilitating mental disorder. It’s wide variety of potential risk factors and causes as well as often unpredictable nature of symptoms lead to an increased stigma about the disorder. One of the most notable and frightening symptoms is the hallucinations, particularly auditory, that schizophrenia patients experience. Generally 65-90% of those diagnosed with the disorder experience some kind of auditory hallucination. These are usually a result of the gray matter deterioration that can begin as early as childhood. The deterioration is especially seen in the frontal lobe and temporal lobe, which would explain the auditory abnormalities as well as the other symptoms seen in those with the disorder. This highlights the link between physical neuroanatomical changes with psychological problems. Overactivity in parts of the frontal lobe and right temporal lobe have specifically been linked to some of the more serious auditory hallucinations.

These hallucinations can be scary since they can often override real thoughts and along with the disorganized thoughts and loss of memory patients experience can make discerning reality from these false voices difficult. Many of these “voices” people here can tell them that others are trying to hurt them, that they are worthless, to hurt themselves, or to hurt others without any real rational explanations. (There are many Youtube videos that are designed to give the listener an idea of what some people experience with auditory hallucinations and schizophrenia—most are scary).

While there aren’t any specific cures other than attempting to treat the symptoms with antipsychotics, it is has been suggested that early diagnoses and treatments can have beneficial impact. There have been studies done that suggest that schizophrenia is a disorder that effects many parts of the body not just the brain. There were developments for blood tests to diagnose schizophrenia quickly rather than the years it took to wait for psychotic episodes to develop enough to classify them as schizophrenia diagnoses. Problems in genetic markers and protein expression in patient’s immune system and metabolic cells related to schizophrenia can be recognized and while may not tell us the exact causes of the disorder, can help us to recognize earlier signs of schizophrenia inflicted patients earlier on.

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