Schizophr Res. 2022 Apr 4;243:181-186. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2022.03.005. Online ahead of print.
The onset of schizophrenia is determined by biological and social risk factors operating predominantly during development. These result in subtle deviations in brain structure and cognitive function. Striatal dopamine dysregulation follows, causing abnormal salience and resultant psychotic symptoms. Most people diagnosed as having schizophrenia do not progressively deteriorate; many improve or recover. However, poor care can allow a cycle of deterioration to be established, stress increasing dopamine dysregulation, leading to more stress consequent on continuing psychotic experiences, and so further dopamine release. Additionally, long-term antipsychotics can induce dopamine supersensitivity with resultant relapse and eventually treatment resistance. Some patients suffer loss of social and cognitive function, but this is a consequence of the hazards that afflict the person with schizophrenia, not a direct consequence of genetic predisposition. Thus, brain health and cognition can be further impaired by chronic medication effects, cardiovascular and cerebrovascular events, obesity, poor diet, and lack of exercise; drug use, especially of tobacco and cannabis, are likely to contribute. Poverty, homelessness and poor nutrition which become the lot of some people with schizophrenia, can also affect cognition. Regrettably, the model of progressive deterioration provides psychiatry and its funders with an alibi for the effects of poor care.
Source: ncbi 2