February 22, 2024

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Schizophrenia Affects One In Every 100 people in Japan

Schizophrenia Affects One In Every 100 people in Japan

Schizophrenia Affects One In Every 100 people in Japan

In Japan, “schizophrenia,” which affects one in every 100 people, can be alleviated through treatment.

While “schizophrenia” is often associated with a specific mental disorder, it is not a rare condition in Japan, with one in every 100 individuals reported to develop it.

Recent advancements in treatment research offer hope for recovery.

However, due to a lack of self-awareness even when symptoms are present, individuals may have difficulty recognizing the condition, leading to delayed diagnosis and worsening cases.

It is essential for families to be aware of the specific symptoms and treatment methods, considering the possibility of a family member developing the disorder.

The reporter spoke to Dr. Sumiyoshi Fumimiki, Director of the Department of Child and Preventive Psychiatry at the Japan National Institute of Mental Health, National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry, to gain more insights.

Schizophrenia, formerly known as “schizophrenia,” underwent a name change to its current “schizophrenia” in 2002 to address concerns about the potential misunderstandings and biases associated with the previous name.

The symptoms can be broadly categorized into three types: 1) “positive symptoms” such as hallucinations and delusions, 2) “negative symptoms” like decreased motivation and social withdrawal, and 3) “cognitive function impairment” involving reduced attention, concentration, and organizational skills. Cognitive function impairment also includes “social cognitive function impairment,” which affects interpersonal communication skills, such as understanding others’ emotions.

“People often develop schizophrenia around the age of 20. The exact cause of onset is still unknown, but individuals with neurotic, introverted, or sensitive personalities, as well as those with a family history of schizophrenia, are considered more susceptible. The development of the disorder is also linked to factors like neglect and the family’s socioeconomic environment. Patients may exhibit ‘thought disintegration,’ characterized by incoherent speech lacking cohesion in addition to hallucinations and delusions. If these symptoms persist for one to six months with a state of reduced motivation, schizophrenia is suspected,” says Dr. Sumiyoshi.

The suicide rate for those who go untreated and neglected is remarkably high, ranging from 30% to 50%. About 30% of individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia experience remission through treatment. Therefore, it is crucial for family members and those around the affected individual to encourage prompt medical attention when symptoms are suspected, facilitating early initiation of treatment.

“Treatment involves prescribing antipsychotic medications. Additionally, combining medication with psychosocial therapies such as life skills training and occupational therapy proves to be effective.”

Furthermore, recent research has introduced new treatment methods. “Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS)” involves applying weak electrical stimulation to abnormal brain functions, aiming to improve symptoms.

“While tDCS has been around since the mid-1900s, improvements have been made, such as altering the stimulation site on the brain. This low-invasive brain stimulation method has shown effectiveness, especially in cognitive function impairments that are less responsive to medication. In this study, stimulating the left superior temporal sulcus in the brain reduced ‘social cognitive function’ impairment, a groundbreaking discovery.”

Previous tDCS studies focused on anode stimulation of the left prefrontal cortex. In those cases, the improvement effect on ‘neurocognitive function (memory, etc.)’ was observed, but the impact on ‘social cognitive function’ was weak. Stimulating the left superior temporal sulcus, however, demonstrated improvement in social cognitive function. When comparing the effects on social cognitive function between antipsychotic medication and tDCS, antipsychotic medication showed a small effect, whereas tDCS showed a moderate to high effect. These results suggest that tDCS could become an effective treatment for promoting social reintegration, such as returning to school or work.

“TDCS is still in the research stage, but it has shown effectiveness in all symptoms, including positive symptoms, negative symptoms, and cognitive function impairment. While individual responses may vary, more than half of the participants experienced positive effects, particularly in cognitive function, potentially surpassing the efficacy of medication. With greater participation in studies and if safety and effectiveness are recognized, future inclusion in insurance-covered treatments is plausible.”

Schizophrenia can indeed be effectively managed with treatment, and early intervention is crucial when symptoms are suspected.

Schizophrenia Affects One In Every 100 people in Japan

Schizophrenia Affects One In Every 100 people in Japan

Sources: https://hc.nikkan-gendai.com/articles/278852

(source:internet, reference only)

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