Asian Institute of Research, Journal Publication, Journal Academics, Education Journal, Asian Institute
Asian Institute of Research, Journal Publication, Journal Academics, Education Journal, Asian Institute

Journal of Health and Medical Sciences

ISSN 2622-7258

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open access

Published: 06 November 2020

Schizophrenia: Epidemiology, Causes, Neurobiology, Pathophysiology, and Treatment

Kevin Volkan

California State University Channel Islands (USA), Community Memorial Health System (USA)

journal of social and political sciences
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Pages: 487-521

Keywords: Schizophrenia, Autoimmunity, Brain Structure, Antipsychotic Medication, Neuromodulation, Psychotherapy


Schizophrenia is a severe mental illness that has devastating consequences for those who suffer from the disorder. The epidemiology of schizophrenia indicates that it occurs relatively often, in many different contexts, and in conjunction with other disorders, decreasing quality of life and causing premature death. There has been an enormous amount of research into the causes of schizophrenia and there is now have a much better understanding of the genetic, environmental, and psychological factors that contribute to the disease. While there are numerous ways to understand and conceptualize schizophrenia, a unified picture of the neurobiology, changes in brain structure, cognitive and social-cognitive impairments related to the disorder has yet to emerge. Convulsive therapies and psychosurgery were used unsuccessfully, indiscriminately and without scientific validation in the past to treat schizophrenia. Medical advances including advanced imaging technology have now provided the ability to perform specifically focused neuromodulation and psychosurgery in severe and treatment resistant cases of schizophrenia. While still at a preliminary stage, these approaches have the potential to yield effective treatments in the future. For the last 70 years antipsychotic medication has become the prevailing treatment for schizophrenia. However, many people suffering from the disorder have trouble with side-effects and adhering to a regimen of antipsychotic medication. Newer pharmacological agents are being developed and include not only novel antipsychotic drugs, but anti-inflammatory and immunomodulating agents as well. These new agents, used either alone or in combination, have the potential to improve outcomes for people suffering from schizophrenia. Nevertheless, conclusively better pharmacotherapies will likely not arise until there is better understanding of the pathophysiology underlying schizophrenia. After the development of antipsychotic medication, psychotherapeutic methods for treating schizophrenia fell out of favor, but there is currently some reversal of this trend. The use of newer psychotherapies and modified forms of older therapeutic treatments are not only targeting the symptoms of schizophrenia but are also now focusing on recovery from the disorder. These newer approaches as well as efforts at preventing schizophrenia show promise in reducing the suffering caused by this disease.


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