Rich Haridy for New Atlas – published May 17, 2018
A study from researchers at King's College London is suggesting that schizophrenia is not just a disorder of the mind but is also associated with defined physiological changes across the whole body. The study hypothesizes that these physical symptoms are not secondary effects of the illness but, in fact, indications that schizophrenia is a whole-body disorder.
For some time, scientists have observed strong associations between schizophrenia and poor physical health. Those diagnosed with the condition tend to have significantly reduced life expectancies, dying up to 20 years earlier due to a variety of issues, including heart disease, diabetes and suicide.
It has generally been considered that these secondary health factors were the result of the mental health issues. Poverty, homelessness, smoking, and a variety of social problems, are all common factors often seen in those with schizophrenia, and considered to be primarily what leads to reduced physical health and a shorter life expectancy.
But there is a growing body of evidence that suggests these bodily alterations associated with schizophrenia may not be secondary effects but rather they are fundamental symptoms of the illness.
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