Is there a cure for schizophrenia? Friends and relatives of schizophrenia patients often ask this question – although symptoms of the illness can be controlled with various medications, in many cases, patients stop taking the medications at various intervals and relapses are common.
What is schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a serious mental health condition characterised by delusions and hallucinations that can adversely affect the sufferer’s personal relationships and cause them to have difficulties in all aspects of their life. With the right treatment, a schizophrenic should be able to lead a normal life, but despite the numbers of different medications and therapies that are available to people diagnosed with schizophrenia, relapses can often occur and the illness is considered to be a life long condition.
What causes schizophrenia?
The symptoms of schizophrenia typically manifest in late adolescence and the early twenties and the illness is thought to be caused by a combination of environmental factors such as a dysfunctional childhood, drug abuse, and biological factors such as a viral infection, birth complications, and a genetic predisposition (having a close relative diagnosed with schizophrenia increases your chances of developing the illness).
Is there a cure for schizophrenia?
Although conventional medicine considers schizophrenia to be treatable but not curable, there are some experts who believe that many mental illnesses, including schizophrenia, are caused by biochemical imbalances and can in fact be cured by large doses of vitamin and mineral supplements in conjunction with some major dietary changes.
Dr. Abram Hoffer wrote a book in the 1970s stating that schizophrenia could be cured by treating the patient with high doses of niacin and vitamin C. Advocates of this branch of medicine, referred to as orthomolecular medicine, are convinced that many illnesses, including schizophrenia and alcoholism, are not life sentences and with the aid of vitamin and mineral therapy to correct the biochemical imbalances in the brain, the patient can be cured and enjoy a return to a well-balanced and normal life.
Back in the world of conventional medicine, a cure for schizophrenia is potentially not too far around the corner after scientists working at the National Institute of Mental Health vowed in 2003 that with the right investment, it was possible that a cure for schizophrenia would be found within ten years.
Like many other mental illnesses, schizophrenia is thought to be linked to the presence of certain high-risk genes and scientists have identified at least three genes so far that are thought to play a role in the development of schizophrenia. There could also be at least one hundred more genes responsible for deciding if a person goes on to develop the symptoms of schizophrenia.
If further developments in the field of schizophrenia research are made in identifying the rogue genes responsible for at least half of all cases of the illness, instead of relying on medication and psychotherapy to treat the symptoms of schizophrenia, it is possible that selective causal gene therapy could eventually be used to eliminate all cases of schizophrenia caused purely by genetic factors.