What Do We Know About Schizophrenia Causes?

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The truth is, we actually know very little about what actually causes Schizophrenia although research is constantly giving new insights into this complex mental disorder which is characterised by hallucinations, delusions and bizarre thought processes.

Some scientists now believe that rather than it being one condition, it may be a range of disorders with different causes. Current research indicates that there are a number of potential triggers but it isn’t known why schizophrenia should develop in one person and not another. Although there is no known cure, around 1 in 5 will go on to make a full recovery although no one knows why and it isn’t possible to predict who will.

The following are the most common triggers and possible causes identified by current research.


There is strong evidence of a genetic component to Schizophrenia. For example, studies by Gottesman (1991) have shown that if one identical twin develops the condition then the other one has a 48% chance of developing it too and in the case of non-identical twins the chance drops to 17% whereas in the general population there is just a 1% risk. Many studies have now shown that if there is a history of schizophrenia in your family then you have an increased risk of developing schizophrenia yourself as one in ten people with schizophrenia have a parent with the condition.

Brain Chemistry

High levels of the neurotransmitter Dopamine have been implicated as being a possible trigger for Schizophrenia. Evidence to support this comes from the fact that drugs that can reduce dopamine levels also appear to alleviate the symptoms of schizophrenia and drugs that increase dopamine levels can bring on symptoms associated with schizophrenia. This may be why abuse of drugs, particularly amphetamines which can increase dopamine levels appears to worsen the symptoms of schizophrenia.

Brain Abnormalities

Magnetic Imaging Resonance scans (MRI) have shown that there are some differences in the brains of some people with schizophrenia. However, these differences don’t show up in all people with schizophrenia. There is some evidence that damage to the brain during the early stages of pregnancy may lead to schizophrenia in later life although more research is necessary to establish this for certain.

Other Possible Triggers

Any kind of stress involving relationship problems, redundancy or bereavement whether it’s a sudden problem or a long term issue can make the symptoms of schizophrenia much worse.   There is also some evidence that people who have been abused or suffered neglect as a child are more likely to develop schizophrenia in young adulthood.

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  1. Jessica Kirschner
    Posted May 9, 2009 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

    I the past two weeeks C.P.S came in and told me that I couldn’t take care of my child because of my Schizophrenia, and Bipolar state was not safe with me. Well I went in to the hospital and stay for five to seven days and the doctor said that I was find and had even watched me with child and said nothing about me being a problem. My question is can I be a danger to my child because of this or can I do what I’ve been doing witch is taking my meds and going to the doctor?

  2. Justme
    Posted May 13, 2009 at 6:11 am | Permalink

    I was showing symptoms of auditory hallucinations was terrified. I search for god…he was out to lunch or something. I went to the shrink… he told me to use sex as tool to relief stress..never mind. So did the best thing I could do. I educated myself about what other symptoms I was feeling and the causes. First, I keep by putting stress causes aside.. anything that annoyed the hell out of me within a five second interval. Then I made myself keep on a good diet and good sleeping habits. Of course I made sure I had fun through out the day. Watch a flick, have some laughs And little by little the single voice hallucination left. The reason I made sure I put myself first is that I was about to be uncle and made sure everyone around me knew what I was experiencing. This way I would never be left alone with the my soon to be born nephew. I did have a minor relapse… but dealt with it. And soon enough I have been hallucination free for four years and I am fully functional. The truth of the matter is that you should get more than one evaluation and if you can be with your child then have someone be present for a while until you “know your child is safe with you.” ( I am the most favourite person in my nephews life and he is the most important person in my life… he is the reason I began to care for myself and he is the reason I will succeed. ( Give yourself a reason and own it )

  3. Kate James
    Posted December 25, 2009 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    okay. i have a question about schizophrenia because i think i might have it. Can the symtoms of schizophrenia come and go depending on the day, week, or even month? because im having on and off symtoms of schizophrenia. im not sure if its something else or not, and i want to go to the doctor for it, but i have absolutly no time, and if i was diagonosed, i dont think i could afford medication. just anyone who knows the answer to my question, it would be greatly appretiated. thank you. oh, and nice article.

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