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How Environment May Play a Role in Schizophrenia

Learn how environment may play a role in schizophrenia from psychiatrist Jeanie Tse in this Howcast video.


Hi. I'm Jeanie Tse. I'm here to talk to you about how environment may play a role in schizophrenia. We know that part of the risk for schizophrenia is not just genetic; it also comes from your life experiences. What we know is that if a person has been traumatized, either through childhood abuse or through a lot of hardships as they're growing up, they're more likely to develop schizophrenia.

So, the environment a person lives in, whether it's nurturing, whether there are stressors or abuse, affects their risk. Now, if somebody already has schizophrenia, if they're exposed to a lot of stress or the things that trigger their psychotic episodes, then they're also more likely to have a hard time and to have more decompensations, more relapses, and worse functioning. So, managing stress and having support to manage stress for people with schizophrenia is really important.

If you have schizophrenia, or if you have a loved one with schizophrenia, developing that support network around that person, which includes the treatment team: psychiatrists, nurses, therapists and so forth, is really important to include significant others, family members, friends, people who the person trusts, is really important.

We know that if everyone helps that person to recognize their early signs of illness, to recognize their triggers and to support them during a psychotic episode, they are more likely to do well and to be able to achieve full recovery. So, having a supportive environment - and that includes all of us in advocating for people with schizophrenia and in helping them recognizing that they have a disability but can recover to normal lives - giving them that support and space to recover is really important.

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