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Monday, December 22, 2008

Gender DIfferences in Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a serious mental disease that affects a person's perspective of reality, emotional response, and cognitive skills. This disease is known for hallucinations, delusions, social isolation, and trouble concentrating. Although schizophrenia affects men and women equally there are some gender differences that should be acknowledged.

Several studies indicate that the mental illness affects males sooner than females by about three to four years. Males commonly develop schizophrenia between the ages of 15 and 25, while the illness affects females between the ages of 15 and 30, and a smaller group between ages 45 and 50. In the earlier stages of the disease men seem to have it more severely than women. This may be the result of estrogen because women develop the hormone during puberty. Estrogen acts like an anti psychotic for women delaying the onset of the diseases and its severity. However, after menopause estrogen levels decrease, and women seem to experience the disease more severely than men. It seems that men display more negative symptoms or they isolate themselves from people, show lack of motivation, and have a reduction of emotional responsiveness and speech. Whereas women display more affective symptoms or lack of agreement between mood, emotion, and behavior. Women also show more auditory hallucinations and persecutory delusions.

Again the differences between men and women in schizophrenia is the age of onset of the illness. Estrogen is believed to be the hormone responsible for delaying the severity of the disease in women along with the age difference of about three to four years after men. Women respond better to the affect of schizophrenia in the earlier stages, however they do not respond well after menopause. Men display more negative symptoms while women show more auditory hallucinations, persecutory delusions, and affective symptoms.



Wandering Coyote said...

Great post! I didn't know most of this stuff, so thanks for the info!

Anonymous Drifter said...

I wonder if this means that schizophrenia is more difficult to treat after a woman hits menopause. Does their condition deteriorate?

HektikLyfe said...

But all those feminists say that there is no difference between men and women. What shall we do with this information????

In all seriousness, how we react differently to medicine and disease is the perfect example of our differences which can also help in understanding the significance of the roles we are supposed to play.