Causes of Schizophrenia
evidence for brain diseases as the cause of schizophrenia rests
on research findings during the past ten years. Comparison of the
brains and cerebro-spinal fluid of normal controls and of people
with schizophrenia through autopsy, EEGs, CT, radio-active tracing
of brain arteries, and spinal taps reveals structural, functional,
and chemical abnormalities. The current body of clinical data provides
further reason to destigmatize schizophrenia. It is an illness for
which no one is to blame.
site of pathology in most cases)
is strong clinical evidence that the limbic system is the site of
pathology for some, if not most, cases of schizophrenia.
limbic system is now known to be the gate through which all incoming
stimuli must pass-it correlates all sorts of internal and external
perceptions. It selects, integrates, and unifies stimuli and experiences
into organized reality and coherent activity.
one patient described her episode of schizophrenia: "What had
happened to me...was a breakdown in the filter, and a hodge-podge
of unrelated stimuli were distracting me from things which shoud
have had my undivided attention."
- genetic theories:
the oldest and most tested, however, genetic transmission has
yet to be proved, even though schizophrenia runs in some families.
- Familial predisposition/incidence:
- 10% chance in
children with one schizophrenic parent
- 39% chance in
children with two schizophrenic parents
- 10-15% chance
in nonidentical twin of a schizophrenic twin
- 35-50% chance
in identical twin of a schizophrenic twin
- biochemical theories:
excess or deficit of neurotransmitters, or their change into toxins.
- nutritional theories:
vitamin deficiencies, metabolic disturbances.
- infectious disease:
a theory for which there is as yet no conclusive evidence, although
several viruses have an affinity for the limbic system and some
cause changes in the limbic system.
and family interaction theories: there are no supporting
data for these theories and considerable data which refute them.
This approach not only fails to improve the schizophrenic patient,
it may even be detrimental.
- stress: no
supporting data to date.
- drug abuse:
there is no evidence that mind-altering drugs per se cause schizophrenia.