It is known that schizophrenia is a mental disorder affecting large population of people in the world especially of the young adult age - Schizophrenia disorder introduction. This review paper explores the factors associated with the cause of schizophrenia i. e. genetic and environmental factors. This paper also reviews academic journals to find the facts and researched knowledge on the subject. The genetic factors we would be looking at are family history and genes associated with schizophrenia. Environmental factors in review include complications and event at birth, psychosocial factors and drug exposure at early age which affect neurodevelopment of the offspring.
The review concludes by noting that schizophrenia is a serious mental disorder but is treatable if diagnosed early. INTRODUCTION Schizophrenia is defined as the “disconnection or splitting of psychic functions” (Picchioni & Murray. 2007). It is characterized by lack of sight, hallucination, delusions, thought disorder among negative symptoms. Schizophrenia is classified into subtypes depending on the balance of patient’s symptoms. They include paranoid, hebephrenic, catatonic and simple subtypes (Picchioni & Murray. 2007). Schizophrenia reflects a quantitative deviation from normality.
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The causes of this disorder are classified into two broad categories namely: genetic and environmental factors. The genetic factors include family history and genes associated with schizophrenia risk (Picchioni & Murray. 2007). Environmental factors include obstetric complications and events, environmental stressors, family support and exposure to drug at young age (Picchioni & Murray. 2007). The symptoms of schizophrenia include lack of sight hallucination, delusions, thought disorder, social withdrawal, self neglect, loss of motivation and initiative, emotional hunting and paucity of speech (Picchioni & Murray. 007) According to Picchioni & Murray (2007) it is a serious mental illness which affects 2. 8% of the total disability year lived worldwide. This review paper looks at the etiology, and the contributing factors that lead to onset of schizophrenia. A number of finding have analyzed data and reported good progress in understanding and managing of the disorder. However pertinent facts are still lacking especially the mechanism and relationship of the schizophrenia to the factors contributing to its onset.
This paper therefore highlights the causes of schizophrenia and the extent to which they have been used to advance treatment of schizophrenia. FACTORS CAUSING SCHIZOPHRENIA GENETICS Schizophrenia has been associated with genes. According to Lenzenweger, Mclachlan & Rubin. , (2007) there are endophenotypic indicators such as sustained attention and improvement in smooth eye pursuit that taps deficit to neurocognitve process of schizophrenic patient. Previous studies have established that there is ‘latent structure’ of the endotypes associated with schizophrenic liability.
Models of genetic diathesis for schizophrenia have theorized the presence of ‘latent trait’ in schizophrenia or eye tracking dysfunction in autosomal dominant gene (Lenzenweger, Mclachlan & Rubin. , (2007). This makes one to be at risk of schizophrenia. Lenzenweger, Mclachlan & Rubin. , (2007) note that schizophrenia liability is likely be distributed in a discontinuous or quasi-discontinuous manner and that genetic investigation suggest presence or absence of risk conferring alleles for schizophrenia.
According to Henquet et al. , (2005) functional polymorphism of the Catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene among homozygous individuals exhibit psychotic symptoms and develop schizophreniform disorder after adolescent exposure to drugs such as cannabis. There is evidence that schizophrenia is linked to dopamine. Dopamine is responsible for ‘salience’ in an individual and when in excess it adds to mundane and insignificant thoughts leading to delusion occurs (Picchioni & Murray. 007). Genetic factors follow a family history. For instance, Picchioni & Murray (2007) note that relatives of schizophrenic patients have 6. 5% risk in the first degree lineage and up to 40% risk to monozygotic twins. Tsung (2003) states that ‘genetic factors cause errors in brain development and synaptic connections’ while Clarke, Harley & Murray (2006) depict that rhesus incompatibility and material genotype associated with schizophrenia add to offspring schizophrenia liability.
In addition, Picchioni & Murray (2007) records genes associated with schizophrenia that have been researched on include the haplotype in the neuregulin 1 (NRG1) gene, dysbindin (DTNBP1) and (DISC1). ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS Schizophrenia onset at later stage of life in human beings is also associated with environmental factors at birth as a result of obstetric complications and events at that time (Picchioni & Murray. 2007). These include under weight at birth, prenatal hypoxia, and prenatal complications (Clarke, Harley & Cannon. 2006). Clarke, Harley & Cannon (2006) states that fetal growth retardation such as low birth weight, small head circumference, and small fetus at gestation age and mothers associated with schizophrenia have a greater risk of schizophrenia. The fetal growth affects neurodevelopment of the offspring. More so, Clarke, Harley & Cannon (2006) illustrate that research conducted earlier on showed prenatal hypoxia is associated with structural brain abnormalities which increase the risk of schizophrenia at later age.
Risks at prenatal are compounded with ecological factors like prenatal stress, intrauterine malnutrition, and prenatal infection which increase risk to schizophrenia (Clarke, Harley & Cannon. , 2006). It is however, noted that complication such as still births, fetal or neo-fetal death occurs frequently to offspring’s of schizophrenic mothers and more so in the low socioeconomic groups, smoker, isolated and underage mothers (Clarke, Harley & Cannon. , 2006). Other factors which contribute to schizophrenia include social isolation, migrant status, family support, urban life and dysfunctional families.
It is found that there is high prevalence of schizophrenia in migrants’ population than indigenous and that family support is critical in treatment of schizophrenic patients. This is also similar to people living in the urban, they are at risk to schizophrenia than rural people. Drugs exposure is another emerging factor putting people to risk of schizophrenia. According to Picchioni & Murray (2007) exposure to drugs such as cocaine, amphetamine and cannabis at an early leads to schizophrenia. Henquet et al. , (2003) states that 5-15% of young people in Europe use cannabis.
Cannabis is associated with amphetamine and the effect of it persists when considering age, sex, social class, ethnic group, family history, psychotic illness, urbanization and use of other drugs (Henquet et al. , 2003, p. 609). When drugs are used t an early age like fifteen years schizophrenia symptoms appear at an age of twenty six years. The relationship between endocannabinoid system and cannabis use is well documented with respect to neurodevelopment. Individuals induced by cannabis use are vulnerable to dopamine which cause perpetual and cognitive aberrations associated with psychotic symptoms (Henquet et al. 2003, p. 610). This is further explained by Picchioni & Murray (2007) that excess dopamine transmission to the brain’s mesolimbic system plays key role in schizophrenia risk. This shows the damage caused by cannabis to patients at which prevalence was at 43%. Schizophrenia is treatable but requires early diagnosis, a number of treatment therapy include secondary care in which oral antipsychotic drugs are used, psychological therapy whereby cognitive behavior therapy is used and lastly, family therapy where support and education is provided.
A long term monitoring of the patient is also necessary until the disappearance of symptoms. The above therapies are important in the sense that they help in reducing relapse, drug administration, distress, burden, readmission rates. Other therapies include cognitive therapy and social skills training (Picchioni & Murray, 2007). CONCLUSION In conclusion this research paper reviews factors causing to schizophrenia mainly genetic and environmental. It can be understood that this mental disorder has varied factors that are necessary in understanding the contributors of its onset.
Since it is critical for human health a lot has to be done to understand it better. In this issue we have discussed genetic factors such as family history and genes related to schizophrenia. More so we have looked at environmental factors at birth (prenatal) and psychosocial factors like socioeconomics, family support and drugs exposure. From the findings it is evident that further research is necessary to determine and explain more causes as well as mechanisms in relation to schizophrenia. Authors of the academic journals reviewed at point a direction of concern worth noting.
For instance, Lenzenweger, Mclachlan & Rubin. , (2007) recommends on a more elaborate research on objective and laboratory methods in determining mental disorders; Henquet et al. , (2005) emphasizes further research on gene-environment interactions associated with schizophrenia while Picchioni & Murray (2007) suggest further research on evidence on dopamine linkage to schizophrenia, definition of schizophrenia, identification of genes that increase vulnerability and factors that increase vulnerability to schizophrenia..