Schizophrenia is a brain condition that may cause auditory and/or visual hallucinations, delusions, difficulties with emotions and cognition, and verbal communication problems. These symptoms manifest between the ages of 16 and 30.
Schizophrenia falls under theMental Healthcategory.
Symptoms of schizophrenia are broken down into two main categories:
Positive symptoms — experiences that add to existing emotions or thoughts — such as hallucinations, delusions, and disordered thinking.
Negative symptoms — experiences that subtract from emotions or thoughts — such as reduced speech, lack of motivation, and decreased emotional expression.
Catatonia, which is characterized by repetitive non-goal directed movements, unresponsiveness, and episodes of overactivity or immobility, is another common symptom of schizophrenia. Additionally, cognitive impairment, which can affect things like memory, processing speed, and attention, has recently been recognized as a symptom of schizophrenia. Symptoms of schizophrenia usually begin to appear between the ages of 16 and 30.
A healthcare provider will complete an evaluation to rule out other potential causes of the symptoms. Two sets of criteria, from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), published by the American Psychiatric Association, and the International Classification of Disease (ICD), published by the World Health Organization. may be used to diagnose schizophrenia.
Antipsychotic medications are the most effective treatments for schizophrenia. They are usually taken orally, but can be injected intramuscularly in urgent situations. However, these medications are associated with unpleasant side effects such as weight gain, sedation, and extrapyramidal symptoms (uncontrollable involuntary movements).
A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials found that, when used as an adjunct to antipsychotics, B vitamins, specifically Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, and Folic Acid, were able to reduce total psychiatric symptoms in people with schizophrenia. However, the results were highly variable, and it was not entirely clear which specific vitamins or amounts determined the effect.
There is limited evidence that dietary changes might affect schizophrenia. The Dietary Inflammatory Index (DII) is a metric used to assess the inflammatory potential of a dietary pattern. A higher DII score is associated with a more inflammatory diet. A small observational study found that people with schizophrenia are more likely to follow a dietary pattern with a high DII score. Some trials also found that a gluten-free diet reduced symptoms of schizophrenia. However, additional trials failed to find the same result.
There have been numerous proposed hypotheses regarding the cause of schizophrenia. However, the exact cause is unknown. It does appear that genes, environmental factors, and neurotransmitter imbalances may all be involved.