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Clin Pract Epidemiol Ment Health. 2012;8:52-66. doi: 10.2174/1745017901208010052. Epub 2012 Jul 10.

Schizophrenia: from epidemiology to rehabilitation.

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1
Consultation Liaison Psychiatric Unit at the University Hospital of Cagliari, University of Cagliari and AOU Cagliari - Italy.

Abstract

PURPOSE/OBJECTIVE:

We discuss recent evidences about schizophrenia (frequency, onset, course, risk factors and genetics) and their influences to some epidemiological myths about schizophrenia diffuse between psychiatric and psychopathology clinicians. The scope is to evaluate if the new acquisitions may change the rehabilitation approaches to schizophrenia modifying the balance about the neurodevelopmental hypothesis of schizophrenia accepting that the cognitive deficits are produced by errors during the normal development of the brain (neurodevelopmental hypothesis) that remains stable in the course of illness and the neurodegenerative hypothesis according of which they derived from a degenerative process that goes on inexorably.

RESEARCH METHOD/DESIGN:

A review of the literature about epidemiology of schizophrenia has been performed and the contributions of some of these evidence to neurodevelopmental hypothesis and to rehabilitation has been described.

RESULTS:

It cannot be definitively concluded for or against the neurodevelopmental or degenerative hypothesis, but efforts in understanding basis of schizophrenia must go on. Until now, rehabilitation programs are based on the vulnerability-stress model: supposing an early deficit that go on stable during the life under favorable circumstances. So, rehabilitation approaches (as neuro-cognitive approaches, social skill training, cognitive-emotional training) are focused on the individual and micro-group coping skills, aiming to help people with schizophrenia to cope with environmental stress factors.

CONCLUSIONS/IMPLICATIONS:

Coping of cognitive deficits in schizophrenia may represents the starting-point for further research on schizophrenia, cohort studies and randomized trials are necessary to defined the range of effectiveness and the outcome of the treatments.

KEYWORDS:

Schizophrenia; epidemiology; etiology.; functioning; genetics

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