Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Schizophrenia in a decade

Today, I took a class to learn basic knowledge about schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia is one of the mental disorders which is recognized from long time ago. Nowadays, it is deemed to be a brain disease, however, its cause and etiology are under discussion.

When I became a psychiatrist, I was told that schizophrenia was so difficult to treat that you should care for them with comprehensive welfare. After a decade, the situation regarding this severe disease is not changed so dramatically. Nonetheless, some findings have been done with the devotion of researchers.

The other days, it was said that men and women were equally likely to get schizophrenia. However, recent data suggest that men are more likely to become schizophrenic. Meanwhile, the relationship between schizophrenia and autistic disorder has been reassessed. According to latest epidemiology, men have more risk for schizophrenia as well as autism, and patients with autism are at risk for schizophrenia. On the other hand, the prevalence rate of autistic disorders is rapidly increasing. These facts are quite complicated with one another. In my opinion, not a few autistic boys were underestimated or misdiagnosed as schizophrenia in the past. The distinction between schizophrenia and autism should also be discussed more in detail.

Treatment strategy for schizophrenic patients is developing for several decades. Clozapine, cognitive behavioral therapy, and community based care are all innovative. Many patients are saved with those therapeutic approaches. However, prognosis of schizophrenia has not been improved, at least in statistical data. Schizophrenia in approximately one-thirds of the patients are progressive. In addition, almost 10% of the patients commit suicide. It is uncertain whether our treatment can protect the patients from these miserable outcomes.

To be honest, I was overly optimistic about this matter when I was a medical student. I assumed that someone else would identify the ultimate solution for schizophrenia in a decade. Still now, we are in the center of battlefield against this disease.

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