The Atlanta Center for Medical Research is currently seeking adult volunteers to participate in a clinical study on schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia is defined by the National Institute of Mental Health as “a chronic and severe mental disorder that affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves.” Schizophrenia can greatly impact an individual’s ability to perceive, understand and interact with the outside world.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders requires two or more of the following symptoms to be present for a diagnosis of schizophrenia:
- Delusions, or false beliefs strongly held in spite of something inaccurate or not based on reality
- Visual or auditory hallucinations
- Disorganized or incoherent speech
- Difficulty in movement or control of the limbs
- Absence of normal abilities or characteristics, such as absence of emotions, low energy, low motivation, or lack of social skills
Schizophrenia can be challenging to treat. Often, it is difficult to ensure schizophrenics take all of their medication. Schizophrenics may feel as if their symptoms have disappeared before their prescribed medication has run its course, and may decide to discontinue only to fall back into symptomatic schizophrenia again.
Researchers are attempting to develop methods to ensure schizophrenics take their prescribed medication, such as extended-release pills or injections that stay in a patient’s system for longer than conventional medication.
Researchers are also attempting to uncover more about the origins of schizophrenia to better diagnose and treat the disorder. New studies suggest that a combination of environmental and genetic factors may play a part in the disorder’s development.