The exact cause of Schizophrenia is unknown, however, it is thought to be related to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Genetic factors may include a family history of the disorder, as well as certain variations in certain genes that are thought to be associated with increased risk of developing the disorder. Environmental factors such as exposure to certain types of viruses or toxins, or having a mother who took certain drugs during pregnancy may also contribute to the development of the disorder.
Diagnosis of Schizophrenia is based on a history and physical examination, as well as a complete mental health evaluation. The mental health evaluation includes a detailed assessment of the patient’s symptoms and a review of their past medical and psychiatric history. The evaluation also includes a series of tests to rule out other potential causes of the symptoms.
Differential diagnosis of Schizophrenia includes other psychiatric disorders such as bipolar disorder, depression, personality disorders, and substance use disorders. Additionally, other medical conditions such as dementia, brain tumors, thyroid disorders, and vitamin deficiencies can also cause similar symptoms, and therefore should be ruled out as possible causes of the symptoms.
Treatment of Schizophrenia is typically a combination of medication and psychosocial therapies. The type of medication prescribed will depend on the type and severity of the symptoms. Commonly prescribed medications include antipsychotics, antidepressants, mood stabilizers, and anti-anxiety medications. Psychosocial therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy, family therapy, and group therapy may also be used to help the patient manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life.
Prognosis for Schizophrenia is generally good if the patient adheres to their treatment plan. With proper treatment and support, many individuals with Schizophrenia can live a normal, productive life. The prognosis is even more positive for those individuals in full remission, who are able to maintain the gains they have made in treatment without experiencing further episodes.