Schizophrenia is a complex, heterogeneous behavioural and cognitive syndrome that seems to originate from disruption of brain development caused by genetic or environmental factors, or both. Dysfunction of dopaminergic neurotransmission contributes to the genesis of psychotic symptoms, but evidence also points to a widespread and variable involvement of other brain areas and circuits. Disturbances of synaptic function might underlie abnormalities of neuronal connectivity that possibly involves interneurons, but the precise nature, location, and timing of these events are uncertain. At present, treatment mainly consists of antipsychotic drugs combined with psychological therapies, social support, and rehabilitation, but a pressing need for more effective treatments and delivery of services exists. Advances in genomics, epidemiology, and neuroscience have led to great progress in understanding the disorder, and the opportunities for further scientific breakthrough are numerous—but so are the challenges.
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