The Environment of Schizophrenia: Innovations in Practice, Policy, and Communications

The Environment of Schizophrenia: Innovations in Practice, Policy, and Communications

The Environment of Schizophrenia: Innovations in Practice, Policy, and Communications

The Environment of Schizophrenia: Innovations in Practice, Policy, and Communications

Synopsis

There is now a body of evidence suggesting that the occurrence and the course of schizophrenia are affected by a variety of environmental factors. Using this knowledge, the author suggests ways to reduce schizophrenia's incidence and severity.

Excerpt

What is schizophrenia?

In the title of this book, The Environment of Schizophrenia, the term "environment" is intended to encompass everything that affects the condition except the innate genetic predisposition. Covering every aspect of life from physical influences in the womb to the stigma and discrimination that sufferers encounter in society, it is indeed a broad field.

We can use the well-accepted bio-psycho-social model (Bloom, 1988) to clarify how different factors shape schizophrenia or any other illness. This model shows us that the predisposition to developing an illness, its onset and its course are each influenced by biological, psychological and sociocultural factors. Figure I.1 illustrates how a variety of factors can affect the various phases of schizophrenia. Most of these influences are environmental; few-only genetics, gender and synaptic pruning (see below)-are innate. Biological, psychological and social factors are involved to some extent in most phases of schizophrenia. In general, however, in schizophrenia as in other illnesses, the research suggests that the factors responsible for the predisposition to developing the illness are more likely to be biological, that psychological factors are often important in triggering the onset of a disorder, and that the course and outcome of an illness are particularly likely to be influenced by sociocultural factors (Bloom, 1985).

The aim of the book

The aim of this book is to draw upon our knowledge of the environmental factors that affect schizophrenia in order to suggest changes which could decrease the rate of occurrence of the illness, improve its course and enhance the quality of life of sufferers and their relatives. Ranging from education about obstetric risks through changes in disability pension provisions to a stigma-reducing campaign, these suggestions will be of

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