Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that affects the perception of reality. One of the most well-known symptoms of Schizophrenia is that the individual hears noises or voices that others can't. Also, individuals experiences severe cases of paranoia. An individual that has been diagnosed with Schizophrenia will also struggle with mental functions such as being able to maintain a thought during a conversation or unable to organize what they would like to say. The onset of Schizophrenia most commonly occurs during late adolescence and the early beginnings of adulthood. This is due to the fact that this is a crucial stage of mental development.

Contributing Factors to Schizophrenia

Because it is a mental disorder, the diagnosis of the condition is largely based upon the individual's own description of symptoms along with behavior that is observed. There is no lab test currently available to help diagnose the disorder. There are a large variety of factors that contribute to the development of Schizophrenia. Although genetics are thought to be a contributing factor, studies are not completely conclusive that this is the main cause of the development of the disorder.

A person's social environment is also a possible contributing factor. Certain stresses or stressful situations brought on by social factors such as poverty, racial discrimination, loss of employment and traumatic childhood experiences such as abuse either physically or mentally, play a role in the risk of diagnosis of Schizophrenia. Ultimately, the more unstable an individual's social environment is, the higher the risk is of developing Schizophrenia. Some experts feel that drugs or alcohol abuse may play a role in the onset of Schizophrenia; however, there is really no conclusive evidence that points to the definite connection between drug and/or alcohol abuse and Schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia and Treatment

Unfortunately, there is no known cure for Schizophrenia. There is, however, on-going management and treatment of the individual symptoms that come with Schizophrenia. In certain situations or in severe cases, the person may be admitted to a treatment facility that can provide the appropriate care. There are also medications available to help treat symptoms and take the “edge” off some of effects of Schizophrenia. Counseling and therapy and non-medical treatments such as exercise or meditation are also known to help with symptoms of Schizophrenia and can help individuals live a more normal life.

Generally, individuals diagnosed with Schizophrenia respond better to support by family, caretakers, and friends. Because social environment has been found to be as much of a contributing factor as any other type of treatment, long term benefits to this approach have been proven as effective as other treatments. The more positive and wholesome the activities and situations are at home, the better a person with Schizophrenia will do mentally and emotionally. Although there has been great lengths made in understanding Schizophrenia, it remains largely unclear what actually triggers onset. Many of the studies are inconclusive. Perhaps in the future more can be learned to help those diagnosed with Schizophrenia.