Feb 2, 2002

The contribution of early traumatic events to schizophrenia in some patients: a traumagenic neurodevelopmental model

J ReadJ Connolly


The current diathesis-stress model of schizophrenia proposes that a genetic deficit creates a predisposing vulnerability in the form of oversenstivity to stress. This model positions all psychosocial events on the stress side of the diathesis-stress equation. As an example of hypotheses that emerge when consideration is given to repositioning adverse life events as potential contributors to the diathesis, this article examines one possible explanation for the high prevalence of child abuse found in adults diagnosed schizophrenic. A traumagenic neurodevelopmental (TN) model of schizophrenia is presented, documenting the similarities between the effects of traumatic events on the developing brain and the biological abnormalities found in persons diagnosed with schizophrenia, including overreactivity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis; dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin abnormalities; and structural changes to the brain such as hippocampal damage, cerebral atrophy, ventricular enlargement, and reversed cerebral asymmetry. The TN model offers potential explanations for other findings in schizophrenia research beyond oversensitivity to stress, including cognitive impairment, pathways to positive and negative sympt...Continue Reading

Mentioned in this Paper

Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System
Norepinephrine, (+, -)-Isomer
Serotonin Syndrome
Delayed Onset Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Pituitary-Adrenal System
Age Factors

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