Schizophrenia is a complex disorder. When one has it, they may hear or see things that aren’t there. It can be debilitating to live with, and it’s also difficult if you are someone who lives with a person who has schizophrenia.
With that said, many are interested in the science of schizophrenia. What is going on inside someone’s head who has it? How does it affect their brain? Do we even fully understand how it works yet, or is there still some speculation to be had?
In this post, we will look at schizophrenia and how it works.
First, It’s Important to Know the Causes
With schizophrenia, you may wonder what the causes of it are.
The exact cause is not known at this time. Genes may play a part, but not in all cases. A person with schizophrenia may not have any family members at all who have it.
Another possible cause may be due to inflammation, which can damage cells associated with perception.
Other times, the cause may be pinpointed to virus exposure before birth. Early drug use may be another cause, too.
It’s a complex disorder, so it does make sense that the causes would be just as complicated. Knowing this can give you some insight into it.
It’s Also Important to Know What it’s Not
With schizophrenia, there are many different misconceptions about the disorder.
Schizophrenia is not a split personality. That applies to DID, or disassociative identity disorder. If you see someone with multiple personalities, then chances are they are not schizophrenic.
Also, schizophrenia does not mean that a person is going to be violent. This is a common misconception that’s been propped up by the media. Most people with schizophrenia are law-abiding citizens, and not someone who is dangerous or a ticking time bomb. It’s important to know this whenever you’re discussing schizophrenia.
People with schizophrenia aren’t low-intelligence, either. Many people who have it are quite smart.
Finally, people with schizophrenia are able to hold jobs, raise families, and live normal lives for the most part. This especially applies if the person with schizophrenia is able to seek treatment. While there is no cure, there are ways to reduce its symptoms.
What Does the Brain Look Like?
While the exact brain chemistry of schizophrenia is not fully understood, it’s believed that those who have schizophrenia may not have as much gray matter. Gray matter has nerve cells, which may play a part in schizophrenia.
How much less gray matter does someone with schizophrenia have? Some have reported as much as 25 percent. The gray matter that’s absent tends to be located inside of the frontal or temporal lobes.
These areas of the brain are associated with thinking and judgment. The less gray matter a schizophrenia patient has, the more severe their symptoms are.
The brain is complex, and if there’s an abnormality, it’s like a computer system with a glitch.
In the middle frontal cortex, as well as the inferior parietal cortex, patients with schizophrenia may have a lack of activation in that area.
Despite the fact that we have an idea of how the brain with schizophrenia works, there does not seem to be any specific area where schizophrenia occurs. In other words, how it works is still unknown.
Your Brain and Neurotransmitters
Another way we know how schizophrenia affects the brain is how the neurotransmitters operate. These are little chemical messengers in your mind that can communicate all across your brain.
A schizophrenia brain tends to have dopamine sensitivity. This is a pleasure hormone. What does this have to do with schizophrenia? We do know that antipsychotics can reduce dopamine. We also know that too much dopamine can lead to hallucinations. Hard drugs tend to act as dopamine, which makes the connection a little more known.
With that said, this is just one tiny piece of the puzzle. There are other neurotransmitters that can play a part as well. This includes serotonin, another pleasure chemical. Another chemical that may be evolved is glutamate, which can cause hallucinations as well.
Other Parts of the Brain That Are Affected
With that said, these aren’t the only parts of the brain that are affected by schizophrenia. Someone who has schizophrenia may also have other functional deficits.
The parts of the brain associated with memory, grip, learning rules, and other functions such as judgment may be affected as well.
People with schizophrenia may be easily distracted as well and may have more difficulties solving problems. However, there are people with schizophrenia who are also quite intelligent, as we have previously discussed.
The part of the brain associated with sensory processing may be affected by schizophrenia as well. This means that a person with schizophrenia may have difficulties knowing the difference between touches, and may have trouble with numbers that are written down on their hand. A schizophrenia patient may also have trouble knowing the differences between the left or right side of their body.
In addition, the wiring of the brain is affected as well. People with schizophrenia may have different electrical brain impulses than someone who does not have it.
We should mention that the science behind schizophrenia is not definitive. There’s still a lot we don’t know about our brains. Therefore, it makes sense that we may not fully understand the diseases that affect brains.
As such, this article is not definitive. However, there is a lot we do know about schizophrenia, and it is a treatable disorder.
Diagnosis is Key
There are many who do not know that they have schizophrenia or another mental health disorder. Diagnosing yourself is one method you can use to seek treatment.
If you are unsure where to go to in order to get a diagnosis, one place you can visit is Mind Diagnostics. Here, you can learn more about schizophrenia and learn if you may have it.
If you want to read more, click the link below.
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