Schizophrenia is a serious brain disorder affecting people’s thoughts, feelings, and acts. As a result, people with schizophrenia may have trouble filtering out what is real from what is not. Also known as a psychotic disorder, symptoms include hallucinations, delusions, and disorganized speech. This is how schizophrenia appears on the outside, but what do schizophrenic brains look like? Some differences in schizophrenic brains may help explain some of the atypical thoughts and behaviors of people with this condition. If you suspect someone you care about may be afflicted with this mental illness, reach out to a Washington schizophrenia treatment center for guidance.
Bayview Recovery is here to help you and your loved ones learn how to address the effects of schizophrenia together. Moreover, our schizophrenia treatment program combines a specialized combination of medication and therapy to make symptoms more manageable. Reach out to us today at 855.478.3650 to learn how the right treatment for schizophrenia can help you enjoy a better quality of life.
Why Study the Differences in Schizophrenic Brains?
You may wonder why it matters what a schizophrenic brain looks like. There are actually quite a few benefits to recognizing the differences between the brains of someone with schizophrenia and someone without this condition. Studying the differences in schizophrenic brains has helped identify this condition earlier in people’s lives. The main benefits of spotting signs of schizophrenic brains early in life are:
- Making people aware of their risk of schizophrenia if symptoms have not yet appeared
- Allowing people to get the help they need before symptoms arise
- Helping prevent years of struggling with one’s emotions, relationships, and functionality without knowing the cause or how to manage it
The symptoms of schizophrenia may not start showing up until one’s teens or twenties, although they may remain unnoticeable until one’s thirties in some cases. However, it is possible to detect schizophrenic brains well before then.
What Do Schizophrenic Brains Look Like?
Scientists have found several differences in schizophrenic brains compared to normal or neurotypical brains. These differences appear in the gray and white matter of the brain as well as in dopamine and glutamate levels.
People with schizophrenia tend to have less gray matter volume. This area of the brain is correlated with:
- Muscle control
- Sensory perception
As you age, gray matter starts to lose its volume, which is especially problematic for people with schizophrenia. These can lead to a worsening of their symptoms.
The white matter of the brain appears damaged in people with schizophrenia. This area of the brain corresponds with:
- Learning ability
- Reading ability
- Communication between different brain regions
Since the white matter is altered in schizophrenic brains, it is typical to see cognitive impairment in people with this condition.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter made by the body. It is associated with:
Schizophrenic brains may experience trouble maintaining healthy dopamine levels, leading to levels that are too high or too low. When dopamine levels are too low, a person with schizophrenia is more likely to appear apathetic and unmotivated. When levels are too high, they can experience hallucinations and delusions.
Glutamate is another brain neurotransmitter. It is involved with:
- Learning ability
People with schizophrenia tend to have higher levels of glutamate, which disrupts their cognitive functioning.
Learn How to Manage Schizophrenia at Bayview Recovery
While you are not likely to see the differences in schizophrenic brains for yourself, you will surely notice the signs of this condition in someone you care about. If you suspect a loved one is demonstrating schizophrenic symptoms, reach out to Bayview Recovery at 855.478.3650. Our schizophrenia treatment program helps families regain a sense of normality by managing symptoms with antipsychotic medications and therapy.