Interesting socioeconomic and racial differences obtain when it comes to the prognosis of schizophrenia. While in America it is the poor who are more at risk of developing schizophrenia, this is oftentimes the opposite when it comes to less developed nations.
As mentioned initially, there is considerable heterogeneity among different diagnoses of the disorder. It is possible that this heterogeneity may reflect the existence of different subtypes, as the DSM-IV had proposed, or it is also possible that it may refer more broadly to a class of disorders rather than a single disorder. Furthermore, there may also be heterogeneity when it comes to the genesis of schizophrenia. It may result from a complex tapestry of social, psychological and biological roots.
There are three primary domains of symptoms:
1) Hallucinations – hearing voices
2) Delusions – belief that others can hear the individuals thoughts, beliefs that an entity or entities continually persecute or seek to harm the individual, and so on.
3) Negative symptoms – anhedonia, lack of speech, lack of thought, lack of emotional expression, apathy, lack of hygiene, and interpersonal difficulties. The ICD-10 and the DSM-IV both agree that syptoms of must present for at least 6 months in order for a diagnosis to take place.
Schizophrenia is highly associated with comorbidity with other health problems, such as myocardial infarction, cardiovascular problems, infections, endocrine problems, and circulatory problems. They also tend to smoke nicotine more than the general population at large, increasing their risk of related illnesses and complications. As mentioned before, individuals with schizophrenia are more likely to be obese, and this may be partly due to the side effects of second-generation antipsychotic medication.
Various forms of counselling, such as cognitive-behavioural therapy, group intervention and nutritional counselling have shown to be helpful in reducing the problematic weight gain associated with antipsychotic medication.
Among other unfortunate side effects of antipsychotic medication includes diabetes, tardive dyskinesia and lipid abnormalities, as well as certain cardiovascular side effects.
Ultimately, it is unknown what causes schizophrenia. It is thought to be a combination of biological, social and psychological factors. Certain genes and brain regions in particular have been identified as sites of potential vulnerability. These include abnormalities in the ability of the pre-frontal cortex when it comes to regulating dopamine, as well as specific genes.