Schizophrenia is a mental health disorder that changes your perception of what you see and hear. This mental health disorder affects the brain in fundamental ways, but the changes are less visible compared to scanning your brain for more obvious damage like tumors or strokes. Several brain imaging scans can be used to diagnose schizophrenia early, which can lead to better treatment outcomes.

Brain Changes in Schizophrenia

Based on neuroimaging studies, scientists have discovered differences in the brain anatomy of patients experiencing schizophrenia. The brains of those with schizophrenia show a reduction in gray matter volume in several areas associated with episodic memory and auditory processing. These changes appear to be progressive in nature, the severity of which increases over time and correlates with the intensity of symptoms being experienced.

Neurotransmitter Changes

The “revised dopamine hypothesis” is that abnormalities in dopamine balance in different regions of the brain are one of the leading causes of schizophrenia.

Neurotransmitters are used by the nervous system to send and receive messages between neurons. Changes or abnormalities in neurotransmitters can play a part in schizophrenia.

People with schizophrenia also experience abnormalities in glutamine activity which influences memory and learning. Changes in serotonin, which influences regulating, mood, sleep, and appetite, can also be a factor in schizophrenia.

Tests for Schizophrenia

There are scales like the Scale for the Assessment of Positive Symptoms (SAPS), which measures positive symptoms of schizophrenia such as hallucinations, delusions, and disordered thinking. The Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms (SANS) measures negative symptoms like decreased motivation, trouble expressing emotions, and lack of pleasure.

An MRI uses a strong magnetic field and radio waves to make 2D or 3D images to explore brain structures. CT scans can view these structures from multiple angles. An EEG tests the electrical activity of the brain using electrodes attached to the scalp. After these MRI or CT scans are complete, a radiologist will examine the images and interpret them.

If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of schizophrenia, it is essential to see a healthcare provider for diagnosis and treatment.

Schizophrenia can change the way you see or hear things. The brain of someone with schizophrenia is different than someone who does not have it. A series of brain tests can determine if someone has schizophrenia, showing the need for treatment. At Alta Loma, we understand the importance of diagnosis and treatment of schizophrenia, and we are here to help you. Our transformative treatment center in Georgetown, Texas, can provide you with individualized therapy, extended care, medication management, strategies for healthy living, and much more. Call us at (866) 457-3843 for more information.


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