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Schizophrenia – causes, side effects and treatments at

Wednesday, June 27, 2018 by

Schizophrenia is a severe mental disorder. Individuals with the condition may have trouble processing their thoughts, which can affect how they communicate. Schizophrenia can also affect a person’s perception along with their sense of self.

The condition is linked to psychotic experiences, which can lead to hearing voices or having delusions. Schizophrenia can negatively affect a person’s quality of life.

Schizophrenia affects over 21 million individuals all over the globe. However, about one in two people with the condition do not receive proper care to address its side effects.

Schizophrenia usually affects people who are aged 16 to 30. Men often experience the side effects of the disorder at a slightly younger age than women. For the majority of cases, schizophrenia gradually develops, and a person may be unaware that they have had the disorder for a while. On the other hand, schizophrenia may develop quickly.

Known side effects of schizophrenia

The side effects and signs of schizophrenia will vary depending on the person, and they are classified into four categories:

  1. Cognitive symptoms – These tend to influence an individual’s thought processes, and they can be positive or negative symptoms.
  2. Emotional symptoms – These usually include negative symptoms, like blunted emotions.
  3. Negative symptoms – These symptoms include elements taken away from the patient, such as an absence of facial expressions.
  4. Positive symptoms – Also called psychotic symptoms, these include delusions and hallucinations.

Here are the major symptoms of schizophrenia:

  • Delusions – A patient may have false beliefs that often takes many forms. They may think that they’re being persecuted, or they may have delusions of grandeur.
  • Hallucinations – Patients may hear imaginary voices more often than they feel, see, smell, or taste things that aren’t there. Individuals with the condition can experience different kinds of hallucinations.
  • Thought disorder – An individual can skip subjects for no clear reason. The speaker may be hard to understand, or they may be unpredictable.

Other side effects can include:

  • Lack of motivation/avolition – When a patient loses their drive, they tend to neglect daily tasks like cooking.
  • Poor expression of emotions – A patient may have inappropriate reactions to certain occasions.
  • Social withdrawal – A patient with schizophrenia may keep to themselves, especially if they think that someone is going to hurt them.
  • Unawareness of illness – Some patients believe that their hallucinations and delusions are real and they may refuse treatment.

Risk factors for schizophrenia may include:

  • A chemical imbalance in the brain, such as dopamine and serotonin.
  • Environmental factors, like stressful experiences, can trigger a relapse.
  • Family relationships/family tensions can also trigger a relapse.
  • There’s a 10 percent chance that an individual will develop the disorder if their parent was diagnosed.
  • Drugs like lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and marijuana can also cause a relapse.

Body systems harmed by schizophrenia

Schizophrenia may cause the following complications:

  • Negative impacts on family members
  • Pregnancy and delivery complications
  • Shortened lifespan/mortality
  • Drug-use disorder (e.g., alcohol, marijuana, or other drugs)

Food items or nutrients that may prevent schizophrenia

The following foods or nutrients can help prevent schizophrenia or address its side effects:

  • Antioxidants (e.g., vitamins A, C, and E) – Antioxidants help counteract oxidation in the body that may cause other health concerns, like cancer, and people with schizophrenia experience increased oxidation in the brain. Sources include apples, beans, berries, pecans, and plums.
  • Essential fatty acids – Since people with schizophrenia have lower amounts of fatty acids in their brains, consuming more foods that contain them can help treat the disorder. Sources include fish, nuts, and olive oil.
  • Multivitamins – Niacin deficiency can trigger depression, hallucinations, and thought disorders. A daily dose of niacin can help reduce these symptoms that are linked to schizophrenia. Other nutrients and vitamins that a patient may need include B vitamins, folic acid, and zinc.

Treatments, management plans for schizophrenia

While treatment aims to relieve the side effects of schizophrenia, most individuals with the disorder have to deal with the side effects their whole life. Those in conventional medicine, especially psychiatrists, note that like other mental disorders, the most effective treatment for schizophrenia patients is a combination of medication, psychological counseling, and self-help resources.

Where to learn more


Schizophrenia is a severe mental disorder, and the condition is linked to psychotic experiences.

The primary symptoms of schizophrenia include delusions, hallucinations, and thought disorder.

Schizophrenia may cause complications such as pregnancy and delivery complications and drug-use disorder.

Antioxidants, essential fatty acids, and multivitamins can help prevent schizophrenia or address its side effects.

Psychiatrists note that the most effective treatment for schizophrenia patients is a combination of medication, psychological counseling, and self-help resources.

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