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Schizophrenia: A Complex Mental Illness

  • María Graciela López OrdieresEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

Schizophrenia is a complex mental illness that affects 1% of the world population without differences of gender, race, or social status that requires effective antipsychotic treatments producing minimal adverse effects. Schizophrenia is thought as a disconnection disorder of functional brain networks that produces three essential types of clinical manifestations: psychotic symptoms, negative symptoms, and cognitive impairment. The former include loss of contact with reality, including delusions and hallucinations. Negative symptoms are states of deficit in which the basic behavior is diminished or absent. Cognitive impairment includes disturbance in attention, concentration, learning and memory, and operational functions. Schizophrenia is a neurodevelopmental disorder which is the result of multiple factor interactions such as viral illnesses during pregnancy, environmental agents, immunological dysfunction, or obstetric complications. Like other major psychiatric disorders, schizophrenia is also associated with abnormalities in multiple epigenetic mechanisms, resulting in altered gene expression during development and adulthood.

Several lines of evidence have studied anatomical and functional modifications and altered neurotransmission systems involved in the schizophrenia. This knowledge has been used to achieve better understanding of the disease and the possibility of developing new drugs; many of them have recently been approved for the routine clinical use.

Keywords

Dopamine D2 receptors Schizophrenia Antipsychotic agents Therapeutics treatments 

Notes

Acknowledgment

Financial support was provided by CONICET and Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Conflict of Interest

There is no known conflict of interest associated with this publication.

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Exact and Natural SciencesUniversity of BelgranoBuenos AiresArgentina
  2. 2.Faculty of Pharmacy and BiochemistryUniversity of Buenos AiresBuenos AiresArgentina

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