If you think mental health conditions are clear-cut with permanent definitions, there is a new study to prove you wrong. Schizophrenia is now considered to be eight different mental health conditions, according to a study published in The American Journal of Psychiatry.
Researchers stated, “Schizophrenia is a heterogeneous group of heritable disorders caused by different genotypic networks that cause distinct clinical syndromes.”
So basically, people with schizophrenia have specific sets of genes that work together to produce different symptom combinations or profiles. Researchers suggest that there are actually eight different types of schizophrenia, according to a news release from Washington University in St. Louis.
Although researchers have known for a while that schizophrenia is a highly genetic disorder, it was mostly unknown which genes actually lead to a schizophrenia diagnosis, according to the news release.
The study used data from 4,200 people with schizophrenia and 3,800 people without the disorder.
Researchers looked at almost 700,000 sites within the genome where one unit of DNA changes, which is called a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), according to the news release.
They then identified sets of SNPs that interacted, narrowing it down to 42 sets of SNPs that are highly associated with a schizophrenia diagnosis (70 percent or greater risk of suffering from schizophrenia), according to the study.
Researchers then reduced those SNP sets into eight different symptom profiles. For example, one type of schizophrenia may only suffer from hallucinations or delusions, while another type may have issues with disorganized speech and behavior, according to the news release.
Before this study was even released, schizophrenia has actually had quite a journey regarding its definition.
It was previously accepted that schizophrenia is one main disorder with three subtypes, according to the fourth edition text revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR). These three subtypes were paranoid, disorganized and catatonic.