Schizophrenia and Stress

There has been a lot of research into stress and its affect on physical and psychological health. Perhaps unsurprisingly, stress has been found to play a role in a wide range of psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia.

Stress does not appear to actually cause schizophrenia, but that doesn't mean it doesn't play a significant role in the development, management, and course of the illness. It seems clear that schizophrenia has a genetic component, but a number of experts think that stressful life events can combine with a genetic vulnerability to trigger the onset of schizophrenia. So while stress itself does not cause schizophrenia, in some cases it may play a role in the development of the disorder.

Because everyone's experience with schizophrenia is different, and because there are a number of different types of schizophrenia, stress affects some people more than others. For example, not all people will have the onset of schizophrenia triggered by an extremely stressful event. However, many people do find that stress exacerbates their illness to some extent, and research indicates that stress in schizophrenic people seems to be associated with a worsening of symptoms or a relapse into a psychotic episode. For this reason, developing a routine and avoiding stress is an important part of managing schizophrenia effectively.

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