August 06, 2007
Social Factors in the Development of Schizophrenia: A Review of Recent Findings
In this entry we've summarized a recent journal article that reviewed the results of 84 different research studies done over the past 20 years on social and environmental causal factors that have been identified in schizophrenia.
Our summary sheds light on possible approaches to prevention of schizophrenia, and also of treatment. Although a great deal of research effort goes into schizophrenia genetics and medications, this article describes research that suggests that modifying social and environmental factors are likely an equally important pathway to prevention. In fact today the area of neuroscience research related to schizophrenia genes, biology and social factors are increasingly seen as overlapping and interdependent domains. This new area of research that focuses on the intersection between social factors and neuroscience has only developed in the past 5 years and is called social neuroscience. One important area of focus of social neuroscience is the way in which stressful situations can impact brain development.
Altering the environment (at the family, or neighborhood level) may be much more achievable than genetic or drug-based risk modification strategies, because everyone can begin making some changes immediately, and the therapies are not limited to approaches that must be provided by researchers in a lab. For people with a strong science background, a link to the full journal article is provided at the end of this summary.
Its important to understand that brain research has now shown that the social and emotional environment that a person experiences prior to birth, and during childhood has a long term impact on brain development, right down to the level of cells and genes. If you want to learn more about this new area of research where social factors intersect with biology - read this story: Social Intelligence and also this story and this story.
Who did the study?
This study was conducted by Elizabeth Cantor-Graae, PhD, and was supported by grants from the Stanley Medical Research Institute and the Medical Council of Sweden. It is released in the May issue of the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry.
Why did they do it?
The goal of this research was to examine the social factors that have been identified as likely contributors in people developing schizophrenia. Much of the research today is devoted to understanding the biology and the genetics of schizophrenia, while less focus is on environmental and social factors (even though a large body of research supports the interaction of genetics and environment as determinants for the illness). Some people argue that understanding environmental and social factors can be even more helpful than genetics because it’s easier to manipulate these external factors. This review article also looked at research process issues and possible ways to improve future research efforts.
"The purpose of this review is to critically examine recent evidence suggesting that social factors contribute to etiology [causes] of schizophrenia and to highlight possible methodological issues and problems that need to be resolved."
How did they do it?
This study is what some researchers refer to as a meta-analysis, which is a study of many different research articles on the same subject. This is often a great way to paint a bigger picture of the issue, in this case, social factors and schizophrenia. The researchers conducted reviews of studies done on social factors and schizophrenia using MEDLINE. All the studies reviewed were completed after 1996, and were in English journals. The studies were either peer-reviewed or review articles that included DSM diagnostic criteria for schizophrenia, as well as standardized assessments of psychosis. This means that only studies that used reliable and valid assessments of the disorder and its symptoms were included in the review. The article includes 84 references, which provide a broad overview of the research on social factors and schizophrenia.
Who were the participants?
Because this is a review of many different studies, and even a review of several reviews, many different populations were participants. Most studies focused on migrants in Europe, UK, and Australia, as well as animal research.
What results did this review find?
Migrant Studies: In migrant studies dating from 1977-2003, they found much higher relative risk for developing schizophrenia in several groups (study on immigration stress as a high risk factor). They found that not only did 1st generation immigrants have a higher risk of schizophrenia then the general population (including the population of the immigrants “home” country) but the 2nd generation immigrants had the highest risk rate. They also found immigrants from countries were most people had skin color that was “black” had a very high-risk rate.
The review outlines several discounted hypotheses that attempted to explain the migrant risk increase; these ranged from viruses, genetics, and vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy. But the author of this study argues that, “social causation is the most likely unifying hypothesis for findings of increased schizophrenia risk in immigrant groups” especially those with such ranges in ethnicity, as well as findings that point to a greater risk in 2nd generation immigrants. Long term exposures to social defeat or chronic experiences of discrimination are the underlying factors.
The Social Defeat Hypothesis: The social defeat hypothesis integrates both social and biological factors that contribute to the development of psychotic symptoms, which allows it to be show the relationship between the environment (social defeat) and the biology (what happens internally when exposed to the social defeat or discrimination). Social defeat is commonly defined as a subordinate position or as ‘outsider status’. Some ways that people may be exposed to social defeat is believed to be through longer term social environment situations (or isolation) that a person interprets as being negative and due to racism, social economic status, gender, sexual orientation, language barriers, or prejudice.
"According to this model, long term experiences of social defeat lead to sensitization of the... dopamine system and (or) to increased baseline activity of this system, thereby, to an increased risk for schizophrenia."
Animal Studies: Most of the research supporting this model has been done with animals. Monkey studies show that social subordination and social isolation cause hyperactivity of this dopamine system. Schizophrenia research has found that dopamine plays a role in psychosis and that’s how most anti-psychotic drugs do their work. Anti-psychotic drugs decrease dopamine activity, particularly on the D2 receptor.
In rats, social defeat stress shows increased dopamine activity in the specific areas of the brain that have been linked to schizophrenia. But following the social defeat stressor with social isolation induced greater dopamine changes, while following it with a familiar social environment prevented the adverse consequences.
In both animals studies they showed increased vulnerability to the reinforcing properties of cocaine, and were more sensitive to dopamine agonist drugs. This is similar to how people with schizophrenia fair with dopamine agonist drugs; they have increased sensitivity to the drug’s effects.
Human Studies: Human studies have found correlations between being discriminated against and developing psychotic symptoms (in people who were healthy prior to the exposure to the discrimination). Other research has shown that those immigrants with “black” for darker skin color (in a country inhabited predominantly with "white" or lighter skin people) or those coming from a developing country were at a higher risk. The author speculates that these immigrants received the greatest discrimination and social defeat in the new country; therefore increasing their risk for schizophrenia.
On the contrary, others have attributed the increased risk in these groups to their “low social economic status, lower educational achievement, higher rates of unemployment, and poorer housing conditions.” But the author emphasizes that there must be an explanation of the underlying biological mechanisms in those factors that contribute to a brain disorder. Meaning that right now, at least, researchers don't yet understand how the social factors precisely impact the biological processes that lead to schizophrenia.
It's also suggested that social defeat may be the common denominator in the other factors proposed. Poor education, low social economic status, and unemployment have all been correlated with social exclusion, therefore being part of social defeat.
Social Inequality, Social Adversity & Family Upbringing: Many studies point to the connection between social factors at birth and during childhood that may increase risk for developing schizophrenia. Some of the researchers argue that these social factors are not independent of mental illness of the parents or the family system. This means that the mental illness in the family is perhaps the cause of the debilitating social factors contributing to schizophrenia. For example a parent with schizophrenia may not form secure attachments with their child, or a parent with bipolar disorder, or depression, or anxiety may not be able to provide a positive and stable environment for the child to grown up in. Parental mental illness has been found to greatly increase risk of mental illness in the children, but research that looked at social factors still found an increased risk for schizophrenia after controlling for parental mental illness. Controlling for a factor means that the study could not attribute the increased risk to that factor, in this case parental mental illness.
"Whatever the nature of the risk factors involved, environmental factors play a significant role in the etiology (causes) of schizophrenia."
Other review studies focusing on multigenerational immigrant households found social adversity explained much of the adults elevated risk for schizophrenia, but only explained little of the risk in children and adolescence. Social adversity was defined as illness, social drift, and other social economic factors. Youths may have been impacted to a lesser extent, by such factors, especially social drift (social drift is often referred to as impairment in functioning, due to any form of illness, mental or physical, that can result in the drift down the social scale).
Cannabis and Drug Use: It has been suggested that drug use, specifically cannabis may be a cause of the immigrant increased risk. But often times there are no differences in cannabis use rates between immigrants and natives, and the cannabis research shows a gender difference (males use more, or are more likely to use) that is not seen in the migrant risk for schizophrenia. The author of this review encourages more research into the role drugs play in social factors causing schizophrenia.
Stress and Social Adversity: Social adversity may lead to stress, and stress is a factor related to onset, severity, and expression of schizophrenia. This means that stress exacerbates schizophrenia symptoms, and may increase psychotic episodes. But research also shows that stress is likely a casual factor for the development of schizophrenia.
The author suggests that stress related to social rank or social economic status may be exceptionally harmful. A lot of research (both animal and human) has shown that low social and economic status (SES) or low social rank correlates with poorer health, and increases in physiological problems. This has been attributed to many things, lack of access to health care and resources, stress related to money or discrimination, and even decreased self-esteem. But that is not to say that poverty or low SES causes these things. How these individuals interpret their situation may be more important than the situation itself. This means that someone who bases their value on their social situation, what others think of them, or their monetary value, would react very negatively to low social and economic status or discrimination. This suggests that how people interpret their life can be a protective factor, or a risk factor. (read more here about the importance and value of a growth mindset, and of teaching children a positive outlook on life as covered in positive psychology )
Stressors seen in children show up as risk factors for schizophrenia; some of these stressors include, single-parent homes, long periods of separation from either parent, parental loss, parental unemployment, and households receiving welfare or poverty (study on social adversity in children).
Childhood Abuse and Family Dysfunction: Child Abuse is a hot topic in schizophrenia research today, and opinions are polarized. Some claim abuse is THE cause for schizophrenia, while others say it may be one of many causes, and a select few have done studies finding no correlation between the two. The author points out an interesting interpretation of these polarized beliefs; "childhood abuse may be a marker for other potential relevant risk factors, such as family dysfunction."
Family dysfunction has been linked to increased schizophrenia risk in those with genetic vulnerability. The Finnish adoption study found an 86% decrease incidence of developing schizophrenia in people with high-genetic risk for schizophrenia-spectrum disorders when placed in a healthy family environment. This supports the idea that abuse may be just a portion of what causes schizophrenia, and family dysfunction seems to include many aspects of associated risk factors.
A study on children and adolescents in The Netherlands found that family dysfunction was a separate factor in the immigrant’s increased risk. The immigrant children and adolescents had a greater risk for schizophrenia from the general population, but those that were in families with signs of dysfunction had an even greater risk. This review also touches on the smaller pool of research that shows family cohesion and social networks, thought to be opposite of dysfunction, to be protective factors in the development of schizophrenia.
Neighborhood: Differences were noticed in the risk for schizophrenia associated with neighborhood features. In neighborhoods with minorities (non white) that were at an increased risk, researchers have found that the risk went down when the neighborhood population increased with other minorities. Its been speculated that this decrease in risk is associated with an environment of less discrimination, and more support or familiarity. Opposite results were found with single and (or) divorced people at risk. If these single or divorced individuals lived in neighborhoods that were predominantly made up of others that were single or divorced, the risk went up. This might be attributed to the isolating properties of being single, and the environment encouraged it further.
These studies are not large enough or diverse enough to say that living in a neighborhood that’s full of people similar to you (if you are a minority) or different from you (if you are single or divorced) is a good way to decrease risk. But they do point out that there are some social factors contributing to the differences, even down to neighborhood dynamics.
Urban Effect: There is a large body of research out that shows in most areas, children born in urban environments are at an increased risk for schizophrenia. Research has even seen a dose-response effect for the urban effect. That means that the more urban the environment (dose), the more risk for developing schizophrenia (response).
A 2005 review of the urban effect found “the rate of schizophrenia in urban areas is about twice that in rural areas”. Some studies defined urban cities as the number of people relative to area surface; others, as number of addresses relative to area surface; and yet others, as large city versus small city based on absolute population counts.
The urban effect is not consistent among all countries; some Australian research has no increase in psychosis among urban areas.
Currently, there is no solid explanation for the urban effect. Researchers have all found a variety of factors that may contribute to this increased risk; such as, environmental pollutants, crowding and illness, social adversity, stress, and other biological causes. More research into whether social factors are contributing to the urban effect needs to be done.
What are the conclusions?
The review clearly states there is no evidence that schizophrenia is entirely caused by only genetic or only social factors, and that an intricate interplay of genetic/biology and social/environmental factors are the culprit. But because much of the evidence for social factors has shown a dose-response effect, which means that the more of the social factor present (dose), the greater the risk for schizophrenia (response), its clear that social causality has some validity.
"Factors, operating on the societal, neighborhood, and family-individual level contribute to enduring liabilities that may lead to manifest schizophrenia."
Researching these social causes is a difficult process. Because social defeat, discrimination, stress, and low social economic status are unpleasant and possibly dangerous, research cannot expose people to such factors and then measure the outcome. Many extraneous variables (things that may interfere with results) come up in psychology research that focuses on environmental factors.
Another difficulty is that depending on genetic risk factors, these social factors can cause a variety of mental illnesses. This is an integrative theory (much like the biopsychosocial model) that says people are vulnerable to many things based on genetics and biology, but that external (both environmental and social) factors work in concert to “bring out” or "expose" these vulnerabilities. Within that idea is the notion that every persons biology and vulnerability is different. So, for example, social isolation may bring out schizophrenia in one individual, but the same social isolation could bring out depression in another person who has different genes and biology.
More research on social factors needs to be conducted. Until then, it’s clear that social factors are influencing those at risk for schizophrenia; the precise biological means by which this takes place is still being researched. As stated earlier, the importance of understanding the social causal factors involved in development of schizophrenia is that they offer significant potential in the area of prevention and treatment of schizophrenia. Altering the social and environment is likely to be a much easier,faster and more cost-effective task than trying to change people's genetics or biology.
This review shows that within every system of society, countries, ethnicities and cultures, cities, neighborhoods, as well as the smallest system, families, there is an opportunity to decrease risk for schizophrenia. Community programs decreasing discrimination, increasing general social and economic status, and improving support networks are of great benefit to the mental health of that community. Additionally, Therapy that incorporates the family as well as the individual’s mental illness is also of great benefit to the recovery process, and also potentially in preventing schizophrenia, in situations where it improves how a family functions.
PDF of full article:
The Contribution of Social Factors to the Development of Schizophrenia: A Review of Recent Findings.
This review was motivated by this short article on social defeat:
Social defeat: risk factor for schizophrenia?
Related Reading: Prevention Tactics for Schizophrenia
Posted by Michelle Roberts at August 6, 2007 10:24 AM
More Information on Schizophrenia Causes, Risk Factors & Prevention
I'm a little frustrated when I see research aimed in this direction, because I think the key is really going to be figuring out and treating the underlying biological causes. It may sound "easier" to address social factors, but I suspect that is harder than it seems-- human life will always have stresses, many of which will be unpredictable. In our family's case, we tried very hard to provide a stable, warm, loving environment for our children and thought we had succeeded. We have several family members with serious mental illness on both sides, but neither my husband nor I had any symptoms. Yet my sweet, wonderful 17 year old son now has schizophrenia. What could we have done differently? I have no idea-- I have worried over everything from what I ate during pregnancy to having used daycare when he was a toddler. His first psychologist told me (pre-diagnosis) that his problems were because he had never been taught to "do combat" in our family! I just hope we don't get sidetracked and divert funding from biologic research that could really make a difference.
Posted by: mom at August 7, 2007 05:14 AM
I think you have a valid point, we may never be able to stop all factors contributing to schizophrenia, and there isn't always something the parents of someone with schizophrenia "could have done differently". The goal of this type of research is not to blame parents or society, but to raise awareness that people with vulnerability (biologically/genetically) may be very sensitive to moderate (but long term) stressors in the environment.
I'm of the belief that we CAN make changes in families that have dysfunctional behaviors, decrease discrimination, increase programs that foster social skills in young children, encourage less rigid mindsets, and so on.
And I don't think any researcher would agree to drop research focused on genetic or biological advancements, but it would be irresponsible to ignore the environmental/social factors.
Posted by: Michelle at August 7, 2007 06:25 AM
I'd like to make a couple of points.
First of all, researchers now tell us that they know that schizophrenia is a brain disorder of "risk" - in other words, many people have the genes (at varying levels or concentrations) of the risk genes of schizophrenia. Secondly, researchers are also saying that for these genes to stay in humans as we've evolved over many thousands of years suggests that these genes likely have some beneficial effect too (since most people who develop schizophrenia don't get married and have children) - for example increased creativity is likely one benefit, researchers suggest. So - even if, one day, they learn how to do gene therapy on people to lower the risk of schizophrenia - would people trade off a 5% lower risk of schizophrenia, for a 5% less creative child? Its not clear at all that even if we identify the exact genes that increase the predisposition of schizophrenia - that anyone, any parent would do anything differently. If you add in the fact that any treatment that eliminates the risk of schizophrenia is also going to cost a lot of money, then the question arises as to whether parents or insurance companies would pay for a new biological therapy that lowers the risk for schizophrenia, but increases the risk that the child will be less successful in life (because remember, it might be that you can't have both a creative child and one that has no schizophrenia risk). As much as I would like a simple biological/pill answer that solves all our family's schizophrenia risk problems - I just don't see it happening in the next 20 or 40 years.
Even if they do develop a drug that lowers schizophrenia risk (for example, like anti- cholesterol drugs (statins) lower the risk of heart disease. That sounds like it would be great - but there are always unintended consequences in the enormously complex system of the human body. Recent research on statins suggest that while they lower the risk of heart disease - the rate of cancer goes up. This is 20 years after the first Statins first came out. Why wouldn't there be a good chance of the same thing in any new schizophrenia-prevention medication?
2. New research in the area of "Social Neuroscience" is showing that social interactions (for the mother before pregnancy, all the way through childhood) has a huge impact on a child's brain development at the cellular and gene expression level. In other words, social interactions are biology - so really social factors research like that which is discussed above can really be classified in the "genes and biology" research that is perhaps more commonly understood by our readers. If you are interested in learning more about this I highly recommend you read the book "Social Intelligence" by Dr. Daniel Goleman, the Harvard psychiatry professor, who describes all the research in this area, in a very readable book. If you talk with the neuroscientists working in this are they'll tell you that they now understand that social interactions do result in changes in biology and DNA - the old though that social interactions didn't have anything directly to do with brain function, has really gone away in the past five years in neuroscience research.
3. The Environmental/social factors and stresses that the researchers are identifying as most important in schizophrenia causation are not short term stresses - they are LONG TERM chronic stresses. Children's brains are very resilient to short term stresses - if they weren't we'd have mental illness in children after every car accident and every car horn honking, or parental argument. In fact, I suspect that the number of LONG TERM social stresses of the type that increase the risk of schizophrenia are likely very few. Given that a child's environment is quite limited (they aren't traveling too far from home by themselves typically) the key environmental stressors are likely going to be family (studies have shown that the stress hormones of children brought up argumentative families are permanently turned on at a very high level, for example), or in child/friend relationships (this dovetails into the whole area of social skills, neighborhood stresses and racism, or stress caused by long term exposure to violence and threats, etc.) And then the only other area where I can think of (off the top of my head early this morning) where there is long term exposure to stress might be school. I suspect that these are the key areas where long term stress exposures are key factors in the development of schizophrenia.
Given that at least one major study has suggested that in a low stress "functional" family environment the risk for schizophrenia (in high risk children) is reduced by 86% - it seems not at all implausible that if you can teach families how to lower stress, and also teach parents how to be aware of persistent stressors that a child might be exposed to in the neighborhood and at school (i.e. teach children good social skills, and how to avoid bullies) and how to teach teachers on how to stop bullying in schools, etc. - that you would likely reduce the rate of schizophrenia by 90% to 95%.
If you add in all the prenatal factors that are linked to schizophrenia risk - such as vitamin D deficiency (which even now a significant percentage of women who are pregnant still suffer from) and the vast majority of case of schizophrenia seem like they could likely be avoided.
In fact, it seems possible that these social factors approaches to preventing schizophrenia are likely the only thing that will work long term. Lets say that biologists did develop a new drug that - when taken by children between the ages of 1 and age 20 - completely eliminated the risk of developing schizophrenia. What percent of people do you think would take the drug for that period? Right now I believe that the rate of drug therapy adherence for even well known diseases like heart disease - is less than 50%, and thats when the person is of imminent risk of dying. What child/parent would encourage a child from taking a drug for many years to potentially lower their risk of schizophrenia over the long term?
Another scenario is that maybe the researchers develop a vaccine for schizophrenia - that lowers children's stress response levels and therefore reduces the risk of schizophrenia. But the human body is extremely complex - so if you lower a child's stress response system - it could have all sorts of unintended consequences like taking more risks because they have to do riskier sports to get the same adrenaline high that all young children like - and therefore the child has a greater chance of dying from something else.
As a person who lost a brother to schizophrenia - I'm very interested in preventing my future children from getting schizophrenia (and the same is true for most of the people working on this site). In our view - social factors and environmental factors are something in our immediate control - and something that we can immediately act on. We view this social factors research as very empowering - hey, what better news could there be than research that shows that we can reduce the risk of our children having schizophrenia by 90%? In fact - this is what the research is suggesting right now.
In our lifetimes - it seems likely this type of research has the potential to prevent many more cases of schizophrenia than any type of biological vaccine or prevention agent, because its immediately available and something we cal all learn about.
I'm not saying that we don't need to still find a cure for schizophrenia and much better treatments - we do. I just think that for families with any history of mental illness - this new research is great news because there is something that we can do today, to lower our future generation's risks. Given that 99% of the research in the past 20 years has been on genes/biology of schizophrenia - it seems like a more reasonable balance would be to see more funding in this area to help families act in a more focused fashion to understand what exactly the stresses are in the family environment, neighborhood and schools are that can be focused on and minimized.
Anyway - just my 2 cents worth.
Posted by: SzAdministrator at August 7, 2007 08:06 AM
Thank you very much for that enlightened response szadmin. Though i fear that there are many doctors and parents who will cling on to any of the out of date unilateral biological models, to contradict these new findings, others like to blame personalities both are harmful and undermine the dynamics of this illness.
My 2 cents worth is that people should read up on some stochastic mathematics. It would easily demonstrate that this illness is dynamic, and could be comparable to a stochastic vector. This sort of research is what will make people realise that bullying should be considered criminal.
Posted by: Max at August 7, 2007 01:47 PM
I'm sorry-- I certainly didn't mean to imply that family environments aren't worth working on! I believe every child has a right to a loving home, a nurturing educational setting, freedom from poverty, etc(and not just to prevent schizophrenia but on general principles) and I do a significant amount of social justice volunteering work aimed at those very issues. I am very familiar with emotional intelligence and the need to support children in development of those skills.
But look at the sample of "low risk" children, whose risk of schizophrenia was not even slightly improved by an excellent family dynamic, a finding that shocks me. From what I can find in the literature, approximately 75% (depending on the study) of patients with schizophrenia have no evidence of schizophrenia spectrum disorders in their parents, not even schizotypy. So most people who get schizophrenia are actually low risk by the Finnish criteria. Which means that even if every child had perfect family interactions (and again, I'm in favor of that), we would do nothing to reduce the risk for the great majority of patients! And in regards to the Finnish study-- it is fairly small, and the adoptees were not prospectively randomized to their adoptive families. It would be more convincing to evaluate adoptive families before they took the infants, assign the infants randomly, and then follow them. Comparing the incidence of dysfunctional families between groups afterwards does not rule out the possibility that those 36% in the dysfunctional families who got schizophrenia were different in some hard-to-measure way at birth, and that this influenced their placement. Clearly this is a very complicated disease!
Posted by: mom at August 8, 2007 07:51 AM
Hi Mom - you mentioned that the "sample of "low risk" children, whose risk of schizophrenia was not even slightly improved by an excellent family dynamic, a finding that shocks me" - could you tell me where this information comes from (is there a study that is listed in www.pubmed.org - that you can reference for us?) I've never seen any study on this topic.
Regarding the Finnish study sample group size - the study seemed pretty large compared to most trials - remember, this was a 40 year long study that cost millions of dollars - and we could never do this in the US either, due to privacy laws. In the study "hospital records were reviewed for all 19,447 women in Finnish psychiatric hospitals on 1 January 1960 or admitted subsequently through to 1979" - I mean, this is not a trivial study by any means.
Your idea on the randomization of adoptive families (while certainly a good idea) may not, I suspect, realistic. I think most people wouldn't want to take babies on an entirely random basis - they choose one they like for a long list of reasons (not least of which might be sex of the baby) - though in today's environment where its so difficult to get babies, perhaps that idea might work.
Posted by: szadmin at August 8, 2007 04:58 PM
I'm talking about the low-risk adoptees in the Finnish Study-- no statistical difference in schizophrenia diagnoses between those in healthy and those in dysfunctional families. The criteria for functionality in the families is interesting to read-- sounds like an ideal type of family interaction. But I find it interesting that the incidence of schizophrenia in those children was still several times the usual baseline rate (although I don't know what that is for Finland specifically).
The study was really good news for high risk children, but again, most children with schizophrenia don't have mothers with schizophrenia.
Posted by: mom at August 9, 2007 10:21 AM
Ah now I understand your point, thanks for the clarification. And I think the point is a good one - why is there not much of a difference in the lower risk adoptees in dysfunctional families vs. well-functioning families.
In fact what that statistic suggests is that for some percentage of the people who get schizophrenia - there are other factors (stresses outside the family) that increase the risk of schizophrenia - these are likely to be things like drug use, head injury, stressful neighborhood or social environments, etc. These factors will probably occur at some level for families no matter what the situation in the family environment is.
Posted by: SzAdministrator at August 9, 2007 04:01 PM
I believe its very simple. It could be the fact that these people had taken illict drugs, and that addiction might be one of the sub-illnesses that a certain amount of schizophrenics have and it might occur at a higher rate within schizophrenia.
And its very hard for even a decent family to prevent this even if they are loving and caring, some people end up amongst bad crowds and unfortunatlty drift into drug abuse and then psychosis. Also it is very hard for parents to monitor the behaviour of abuse within schools, it is always hidden, and never spoken about.
Oh and this is starting to look like the 'Liars Bind' it seems that we can argue genetics over this and come to multiple conclusions, yes thats right hence the name! It seems that if you have even the slightest genetic dispostion to this illness you will get it if you are within a crummy enviroment. You will also get this illness around the same rate if you are in a good enviroment if you are at a high risk. We come to the conclusion that genetic factors have an additive property behind the illness. We can also say that enviroment is as important. And this can seem to be come quite disorganised, but that was the whole point behind the study to show both the genetic side and the social factors
go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stochastic_vector and it might become
thats my one brain cell worth!
Posted by: Max at August 9, 2007 10:45 PM
This still seems to be light-years away from addressing the "schizophrenia" stemming from hypothalamic origin, which is heavily hormonal and therefore system-wide. Of course it affects the brain as an organ - as it affects the whole body... but the brain DOES affect the whole body.
Actually what I suppose some day will happen, is that all these other sources of "schizophrenia" that have nothing to do with drugs or the psychobabble stuff will probably get labeled as something other than "schizophrenia".
Posted by: Naomi at August 10, 2007 06:41 AM
I notice when I am on the highway, my symptoms seem to abate when I approach an isolated stretch of the road. Conversely, when I drive through a populated area with throngs of people on either side of the streets, I instantly begin to feel extremely schizophrenic. Conclusion: Rural living is good for a person like me.
Posted by: hmmned at August 10, 2007 10:31 AM
Any time the subject is broached about my being diagnosed with schizophrenia, my mother goes to great lengths to assert that it's development has nothing to do with the way I was raised. It is her contention that psychiatrists and mental health therapists always blame the parents. I'm sure she would deny any research is valid that supports an environmental/social factor. She also thinks I had a wonderful childhood and I don't remember it that way.
Posted by: Donna at August 10, 2007 11:05 AM
Mother and older brother diagnosed with chronic SZ, younger brother and I not. Mothers SZ diagnosed after my birth. Older brothers in late teenage years. Mother once told me 'I was never worried about you and (name of younger brother) when I was pregnant with you, like I was when I was pregnant with (older brother). I was always afraid for (name of older brother).' Causal link? I dunno.
Posted by: GS750 at August 12, 2007 12:43 AM
Hey i am doing a school paper on schizophrenia i look for weeks on the net i have found have found the same things ever time i still have 7 pages to wright on schizonphrenia could some one help me and send me some information or send me what you think could/shold be done
Posted by: CODY at March 4, 2008 07:48 AM
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