Some 'presumed' causes of Schizophrenia and/or Psychosis - Forums at Psych Central



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Old 02-19-2007, 12:14 PM #1
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Default Some \'presumed\' causes of Schizophrenia and/or Psychosis

During the course of my wanderings over the past few years I have come across a number of presumed causes of schizophrenia and/or psychosis. I thought it would be informative to compile a list of all presumed causes.

Should you be aware of a "cause" that's not yet been included, do feel free to chime in. If possible, I suggest you link to an article that backs the claim of the cause.


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Old 02-19-2007, 12:24 PM #2
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Default Re: Causes of Schizophrenia and/or Psychosis

Cause: Cat Poop


Pet Theory: Do Cats Cause Schizophrenia?

"I THINK CATS ARE GREAT," says E. Fuller Torrey. His office decor would seem to confirm this statement: A cat poster hangs on one wall; a cat calendar sits on his desk; and a framed picture of a friend's cat leans against the windowsill. He even admits to having a "cat library" at home. But Torrey's interest in felines is a bit different from that of your typical cat lover. That's because Torrey, a psychiatry professor at the Uniformed Services University of Health Science and the enfant terrible of mental health research, believes that Felis domestica may carry infectious diseases that could cause schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. "My wife thinks I'm going to be assassinated by cat owners," says Torrey with a sigh. "In fact, I like cats. Unfortunately, if we are correct that they transmit infections..." Here his voice trails off, and he pensively fingers his closely cropped beard.

Torrey often speaks in a self-deprecating manner of his "delusional" notions, but he's dead serious about the cat connection. He thinks "typhoid tabbies" are passing along Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite that causes brain lesions and, if Torrey is right, schizophrenia. Torrey first made the argument nearly thirty years ago. "It was considered psychotic," he admits. But since then, his ideas, though still outside the mainstream, have attracted converts, most notably the Johns Hopkins virologist Robert Yolken, with whom he now collaborates. Together, they're trying to prove that toxoplasmosis is but one of several infectious diseases that cause most cases of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. It helps their case that previous explanations -- bad mothering, bad genes -- have proven deficient to varying degrees. But Torrey and Yolken have also uncovered some hard evidence to support their claims, and they are about to put their theory to the test with clinical trials of drugs that are new to the psychopharmacological arsenal: antibiotics and antivirals similar to those used by AIDS patients. If the duo finds that such drugs alter the course of schizophrenia, Yolken observes, their results "would represent a major advance in the treatment of this devastating disease as well as in understanding its basic etiology."

[...]

As he tells it, the formative event for him came between his second and third years at Princeton. His sister, who was due to start college that fall, began hallucinating and yelling, "The British are coming!" The diagnosis was acute schizophrenia. "My mother was told that it was because my father had died," Torrey says with disgust. "I thought, 'This is absurd -- a lot of people's fathers die and they don't develop schizophrenia.' There was this disconnect between what I was looking at and what I was being told."

[...]

Torrey first postulated that toxoplasmosis might cause schizophrenia in the 1970s, when he read several articles attributing an outbreak of multiple sclerosis in the Faeroe Islands to the introduction of dogs there during World War II. Could indoor pets like cats, which had become widely popular only in the nineteenth century, also be reservoirs of infectious agents? Torrey, who had recently completed a book manuscript arguing that in the late nineteenth century schizophrenia and bipolar disorder went from being rare diseases to relatively common ones, became convinced that cats were central to that story. "The cat craze began with the cat shows in the late nineteenth century," he explains. "And when I went back and looked at what we know about cats as pets, it corresponded almost perfectly to what we know about the rise of psychosis."

Read the full article here: Pet Theory - Do Cats Cause Schizophrenia



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Old 02-19-2007, 12:36 PM #3
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Default Re: Causes of Schizophrenia and/or Psychosis

Cause: Milk


Got Schizophrenia?

University of Florida researchers reported in the March 1999 issue of the journal Autism findings from two novel animal studies indicating autism and schizophrenia may be linked to an individual's inability to properly break down a protein found in milk.

The digestive problem might actually lead to the disorders' symptoms, whose basis has long been debated, said UF physiologist Dr. J. Robert Cade. Further research is needed before scientists have a definitive answer. When not broken down, the milk protein produces exorphins, morphine-like compounds that are then taken up by areas of the brain known to be involved in autism and schizophrenia, where they cause cells to dysfunction.

The animal findings suggest an intestinal flaw, such as a malfunctioning enzyme, is to blame, says Cade, whose team also is putting the theory to the test in humans. Preliminary findings from that study - which showed 95 percent of 81 autistic and schizophrenic children studied had 100 times the normal levels of the milk protein in their blood and urine - have been presented at two international meetings in the past year but have not yet been published.

When these children were put on a milk-free diet, at least eight out of 10 no longer had symptoms of autism or schizophrenia, says Cade, a professor of medicine and physiology at UF's College of Medicine and inventor of the Gatorade sports drink. His research team includes research scientist Dr. Zhongjie Sun and research associate R. Malcolm Privette.

"We now have proof positive that these proteins are getting into the blood and proof positive they're getting into areas of the brain involved with the symptoms of autism and schizophrenia," Cade said.

Read the full article here: Milk, Autism &amp; Schizophrenia



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Old 02-19-2007, 12:43 PM #4
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Default Re: Causes of Schizophrenia and/or Psychosis


Cause: Demon Possession:


Can people be possessed by evil spirits?

Channel 4 seems to think so, and next week plans to broadcast "as live" the exorcism of a young man who says he is possessed by evil.

Scientists intend to monitor the man's brain with electrodes to see whether the procedure has any measurable effect.

Even within the Church of England, the idea of possession raises eyebrows. "The number of metaphysical assumptions it makes is quite incredible. It means there are such things as non-human evil spirits that can take possession of a human being and require to be told to go somewhere else by a greater power," says Canon Michael Perry, who holds a doctorate in deliverance and edits the Christian Parapsychologist.

"Some Christians believe it happens frequently - they see demons under every rug and will perform exorcisms at the drop of a hat. My view is possession is very rare."

Look back over case histories of supposed possessions and it's often easy to identify a real psychiatric condition, says Christopher French, who heads the anomalistic psychology research unit at Goldsmith's College in London.

"Epilepsy, Tourette's syndrome and some forms of schizophrenia have all been labelled as possessions in the past," he adds.

Read the full article here: <a href=http://www.guardian.co.uk/life/thisweek/story/0,12977,1415683,00.html>The Guardian</a>



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Old 02-19-2007, 12:49 PM #5
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Default Re: Causes of Schizophrenia and/or Psychosis

Cause: Trauma


The psychiatric establishment is about to experience an earthquake that will shake its intellectual foundations. When it has absorbed the juddering contents of the latest edition of one of its leading journals, Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, it will have to rethink many of its most cherished assumptions. Not since the publication of RD Laing's book Sanity, Madness and the Family, in 1964, has there been such a significant challenge to their contention that genes are the main cause of schizophrenia and that drugs should be the automatic treatment of choice.

With his colleagues, guest editor John Read (whose name I shall use as a generic term for this body of evidence), a leading New Zealand psychologist, slays these sacred biological cows. The fact that some two-thirds of people diagnosed as schizophrenic have suffered physical or sexual abuse is shown to be a major, if not the major, cause of the illness. Proving the connection between the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and schizophrenia, Read shows that many schizophrenic symptoms are directly caused by trauma.

The cornerstone of Read's tectonic plate-shifting evidence is the 40 studies that reveal childhood or adulthood sexual or physical abuse in the history of the majority of psychiatric patients (see, also, Read's book, Models of Madness). A review of 13 studies of schizophrenics found rates varying from 51% at the lowest to 97% at the highest.

Read the full article here: The Guardian



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Old 02-19-2007, 12:55 PM #6
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Default Re: Causes of Schizophrenia and/or Psychosis

Cause: Lack of Sunlight/Vitamin D


Studies have indicated that children who born during certain times of the year (winter and early spring) have a higher than normal incidence of schizophrenia.

According to an article in the New Scientist magazine, research suggests people who develop schizophrenia in Europe and North America are more likely to be born in the winter and early spring (February and March in the Northern Hemisphere) In other words, the subjects who were born during these months had a slightly higher than average rate of schizophrenia, while subjects born in August and September had a slightly lower than average rate. There seems to be about a 10% difference in risk of schizophrenia between the high (Winter and Spring) and low risk months of birth.

One possible reason for the association between winter/spring births and schizophrenia may be related to sunlight exposure. A lack of sunlight (for example, during the shorter days of winter) can lead to vitamin D deficiency, which scientists believe could alter the development of a child's brain in the mother's womb and after birth.

Read the full article here: Low Sunlight Exposure/Vitamin D deficiency is associated with higher risk of schizophrenia



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Old 02-19-2007, 12:59 PM #7
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Default Re: Presumed causes of Schizophrenia and/or Psychosis

Cause: Marijuana


Reefer Madness:
A pair of articles in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry has resurrected the "reefer madness" argument about marijuana and its links to mental illness.

Cannabis use can trigger schizophrenia in people already vulnerable to the mental illness -- and this fact should shape marijuana policy, argue two psychiatric epidemiologists in this month's journal.

The link between marijuana use and schizophrenia is generally accepted in the psychiatric community. The problem is that the vulnerable population -- mostly teenagers -- generally isn't eager to absorb the message.

Australian epidemiologists Louisa Degenhardt and Wayne Hall reviewed eight international studies of teens and young adults that examined the link between marijuana use and schizophrenia. They concluded using marijuana can precipitate schizophrenia in users who have a personal or family history of schizophrenia.

[b]Read the full article here: Journal articles link marijuana to schizophrenia



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Old 02-19-2007, 01:27 PM #8
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Default Re: Presumed Causes of Schizophrenia and/or Psychosis

Cause: Niacin Deficiency


... We decided to tackle the most important single problem, schizophrenia. Half of our mental hospital beds were occupied by these patients, and one quarter of all hospital beds in Canada were these patients. But there were very few tangible leads. Psychoanalysis was sweeping into North American psychiatry, and the biological psychiatrists were facing imminent defeat in their views about the nature of this disease.

Dr. Osmond and Dr. J. Smythies had discovered that the mescaline experience resembled the schizophrenic experience, and he and Smythies postulated that there might be a substance in the body with the properties of mescaline and related to adrenalin. Dr. Osmond and I developed this idea, which became known as the adrenochrome hypothesis of schizophrenia.

[...]

Arising from this research are the following discoveries: (1) That adrenochrome is an hallucinogen, (2) that it could be made in the body. It is now known to be present and easily measured. (3) That megadoses of vitamin B-3 and ascorbic acid were therapeutic for schizophrenia. This was one of the roots of orthomolecular psychiatry and medicine as it is known today. (4) That niacin lowers cholesterol levels. This vitamin is now one of the world's standard materials for doing so. It also extends life and does not increase deaths from violent acts as some of the other compounds which lower cholesterol do. (5) The HOD (Hoffer-Osmond Diagnostic) and EWI tests for assisting in the diagnosis of schizophrenia. This is an excellent test, hardly known to the profession.


Read the full article: About Abram Hoffer M.D.



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Old 02-19-2007, 01:32 PM #9
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Default Re: Presumed Causes of Schizophrenia and/or Psychosis

Cause: Stress


Stress may cause highly activated mythic images to erupt from the psyche's deepest levels in the form of turbulent visionary experience. Depending on whether the interactions between the individual and the immediate surroundings lean toward affirmation or invalidation, comprehension of these visions can turn the visionary experience into a step in growth or into a disorder, as an acute psychosis. Based on his clinical and scholarly investigations, John Weir Perry has found and formulated a mental syndrome which, though customarily regarded as acute psychosis, is in actuality a more natural effort of the psyche to mend its imbalances. If the upset is received in the spirit of empathy and understanding, and allowed to run its course, an acute episode can be found to reveal a self-organizing process that has self-healing potential.

Source: <a href=http://www.sunypress.edu/details.asp?id=53985</a>Trials of the Visionary Mind</a>



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Old 02-19-2007, 01:38 PM #10
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Default Re: Presumed Causes of Schizophrenia and/or Psychosis


Cause: Caffeine


Nearly 80% of the world's population uses caffeine, and 25% of the population is diagnosed with a mental disorder. Clinical studies indicate that there may be significant overlap between those figures, and that many people diagnosed as mentally ill are in fact merely suffering from caffeine poisoning. Caffeine also exacerbates the symptoms of patients suffering from organic, non-caffeine-induced mental illness.

As a small, lipid-soluble molecule (like alcohol, nicotine, and certain antidepressants), caffeine is one of the few substances capable of penetrating the blood-brain barrier, which is critical to maintaining cerebral homeostasis. Once it has penetrated this barrier, it is capable of affecting its victims' thoughts and behavior, sometimes to an alarming degree.

Because self-awareness is one of the first casualties of a toxic brain, caffeinism victims may not even suspect they are ill or (if they do) that caffeine is at the root of their symptoms.

It is the purpose of this site to alert the public to the dangers of caffeine intake, and to urge the medical community to eliminate caffeine from patients’ diets before diagnosing them with psychiatric disorders including anxiety, ADD/ADHD, mania, depression, personality disorder and schizophrenia.

Read more here: The Caffeine Web



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