Schizophrenia: Overview and Dopamine Dysfunction




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Schizophrenia is a chronic, often disabling illness that affects approximately 24 million people worldwide. Unfortunately, while the majority of first-episode schizophrenia patients respond well to initial antipsychotic treatment, less than 1 in 5 will maintain recovery over 2 to 5 years, and most will experience at least 1 relapse. Dopamine dysfunction helps to explain the positive symptoms experienced by patients with schizophrenia, and targeting these pathways has made current antipsychotics effective treatments for this condition. However, these agents primarily manage the positive symptoms of the disorder, while negative and cognitive symptoms can persist. More treatments are needed that comprehensively address all presentations of the disorder.

From the Division of Translational Imaging, Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University and New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York.

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J Clin Psychiatry 2014;75(11):e31