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The life of a schizophrenic is unquestionably depressing.
Unable to hold down a job, earn a living, or sustain basic human relationships, many people who have schizophrenia are understandably depressed. For people who have to endure schizophrenia, depression can be both situational and brain-based.
Treating depression in schizophrenics, however, is problematic. That is because the same receptor on neurons in the brain, known as serotonin receptor 2A, also generates hallucinations. Giving schizophrenics antidepressants can cause them to become even more out of touch with the shared definition of reality, and nutritional supplements such as 5-HTP and tryptophan also carry the risk of making a bad situation worse.
In 2010, scientists at the Scripps Research Institute discovered biological pathways that may make it possible to stimulate the serotonin receptor 2A without creating the proteins that cause hallucinations. Drugs based on this discovery, are least 5 to 10 years away. In the meantime, what can be done about depression in schizophrenics to support mainstream medical treatment?
Here are some suggestions:
And another way to help relieve the burden of schizophrenia? Let someone else change the cat's litter box.
Cats that are infected with the microorganism Toxoplasma gondii can pass its cysts to their human owners. The cat gets over the infection quickly and is immune for the rest of its life, but humans who come in contact with the cysts from cat feces can develop schizophrenic symptoms. (This explains the real meaning of the term "crazy cat lady" or "crazy cat man.") Treating the infection sometimes relieves, although seldom cures, the schizophrenia.