The latter manifest themselves with apathy, abulia (lack of motivation), impoverishment of language and inability to experience pleasant emotions and sensations. Negative symptoms often appear a few years before the person experiences the first acute psychotic crisis, progressing slowly.
These manifestations, already having a strong impact on the lives of affected subjects and those who assist them, can be accompanied by illogical and disorganized thoughts, bizarre behaviors and cognitive alterations that alter memory, attention and the ability to solve problems.
Schizophrenia generally occurs between the ages of 18 and 28, without distinction between sex and social status: in fact, it is found both in industrialized and developing countries, with an incidence of about 2 million new cases / year.
Although the exact etiology of this pathology is not known, several hypotheses have been advanced on the causes of its onset: it is undoubtedly a multifactorial disorder, in which genetic predisposition plays important but not self-sufficient roles. If, in the general population, the risk is estimated at around 1%, for the first degree relatives of an affected subject it rises to 10%, reaching 48% in homozygous twins. It is therefore highly probable that subjects at risk inherit predisposing genetic factors, on which pre or peri-natal environmental triggering factors such as maternal infections, smoking in pregnancy and obstetric complications could act.
There are rare forms of early-onset schizophrenia, which occur between the ages of 13 and 17. Under the age of 13, on the other hand, we speak of very early onset schizophrenia. These are neurological conditions with even more severe consequences than the later onset forms, as they arise in a delicate phase of psychological and social development.
The complications of schizophrenia are multiple and strongly impact on every aspect of daily life: inability to study and work, suicidal ideas, alcohol and drug addiction, social isolation and self-harm occur frequently in affected subjects, weighing down the already complex clinical picture.
There are five main types of schizophrenia, which differ according to the predominant symptoms: in the paranoid one, delusions and hallucinations prevail, while in the disorganized or hebephrenic schizophrenia it is speech and behavior that undergo the greatest alterations; the catatonic form is characterized by marked psychomotor disorders, while in the residual one negative symptoms prevail. Finally, when the clinical picture does not fall into any of the previous categories or has mixed characteristics, we speak of undifferentiated schizophrenia.
This panel analyzes the main genes related to adult and childhood onset schizophrenia.
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