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The term "schizophrenia" comes from the Greek word which can be roughly translated as "shattered mind”. Schizophrenia is not with the same as multiple personality disorder but in popular culture the two are often confused.

Schizophrenia is a psychiatric disorder characterized by mental impairments in the perception or expression of reality and by a significant social or occupational dysfunction. The most common symptoms that person with schizophrenia is experiencing are disorganized thinking, and delusions or auditory hallucinations. Although the disorder is primarily affecting cognition, it can also contribute to chronic problems with behavior and emotion.

Possible causes of schizophrenia development

There are many studies which tried to find the exact cause of this disorder and most of them came to the conclusion that there are many possible causes which usually act simultaneously. The possible causes of schizophrenia include:

1. Genetic causes

Since schizophrenia tends to run in families, experts have been trying to find the specific genes which increase a person's chance of developing this illness. Most studies, especially those performed on twins, have found that heredity plays an important role in the development of schizophrenia. If one of the identical twins who have been raised separately develops schizophrenia, the chance that the other twin will also develop it is 50%.
Some studies have proposed that an imbalanced level of a specific neurotransmitter such as dopamine and serotonin could be the cause of shizophrenia and this theory ius known as Neurotransmitter theory.   

2. Abnormal brain development

Many studies of people with schizophrenia have found abnormalities in their brain structure.

The most common abnormalities are:

  • enlargement of the ventricles, fluid-filled cavities, in the interior of the brain,
  • decreased size of certain brain regions
  • decreased metabolic activity in certain brain regions

Experts are also saying that schizophrenia may be a developmental disorder resulting from the inappropriate connecting  of the neurons during fetal development. 

3. Infection

There are several studies which have shown that viral infections may play a role in the development of schizophrenia. Viruses that could be responsible for the development of schizophrenia are poliovirus, the flu virus and a virus called encephalitis lethargica.

4. Birth complications

Complications during pregnancy, abnormal fetal growth and complications during delivery are significant risk factors in the development of schizophrenia. Those that play a significant role in the development of schizophrenia include:

  • complications in pregnancy including bleeding and diabetes
  • abnormal fetal growth and development including conditions such as low birth weight 
  • complications of delivery including asphyxia and emergency Caesarean section

5. Head injury

Traumatic head injuries can cause symptoms of psychosis but it is still unknow how exsactly they induce schizophrenia. 

6. Psychological causes

The main psychological trigger that can lead to the onset of symptoms of schizophrenia is a stressful life event. Social isolation is thought to pay an important role in such stresful sitiations.

7. Drug use

It is a common incorrect belief that drug use causes schizophrenia. The fact is that drugs do not directly cause schizophrenia. The fact is, however, that certain drugs may cause a disturbance in the brain.

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