Is Schizophrenia Psychological?

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Is Schizophrenia Psychological?

There is still much confusion among the general public as to whether schizophrenia is psychological or biological in nature. Once upon a time it was thought to be purely psychological but that isn’t the case today.

What we know now is that Schizophrenia is a complex disorder that can cause hallucinations, delusions, paranoia and depression affecting roughly one percent of the general population and that genetics, biology and psychology all play a role.

On saying that, Schizophrenia is still poorly understood by the medical profession and we have a lot to learn about it in order to understand it despite the amount of research that has been done. However, progress is being made all the time.

What the research does tell us is that there is a definite genetic element to schizophrenia. Two recent studies by Scientists at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and at Edinburgh University in Scotland have managed to identify one single gene, a mutated version of the DISC1 gene, which is involved in both the development of schizophrenia and how well individuals will respond to treatment.

At the moment treatment for Schizophrenia will almost certainly involve some kind of anti-psychotic medication if psychosis is present. However, psychological interventions are proving very helpful in most cases. The types of psychological interventions available include both individual and group psychotherapy sessions and skills training. These can help an individual with Schizophrenia as well as their families to learn to cope with schizophrenia on a daily basis and improve the quality of life and the prognosis for the person suffering with schizophrenia.

There are also biological factors involved in Schizophrenia and some evidence exists that the seeds of schizophrenia may be sown in the very early days of pregnancy, possibly even before a woman discovers she is pregnant. For this reason women are advised to pay special attention to their health before they even decide to conceive.

With regard to psychological factors, many health professionals now believe that the psychology of an individual can influence to some extent whether a person will develop schizophrenia and how well a person with schizophrenia might respond to treatment. The extent to which psychological factors play a role is not known and will of course vary considerably from person to person.

Many things can influence how a person behaves, thinks and feels, in other words the psychology of an individual, including family circumstances, genetics, brain chemistry, social and environmental situations, stress, and anxiety and so on. It is also true that the psychology of an individual can have an influence on brain chemistry. The important point here is that one isn’t isolated from the other.

So to answer the question is Schizophrenia psychological? A simple yes or no answer will not suffice. Psychology affects the brain and the brain has an impact on psychology, both play a role in schizophrenia.

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