Current advocacy efforts for the hoped-for reclassification of Schizophrenia as a neurological disorder are being spearheaded by the nonprofit Schizophrenia and Related Disorders Alliance of America (SARDAA), whose website is sardaa.org. We recommend you take a look at the site along with the comprehensive, well researched letter and join the advocacy by sending on the letter or your own.
The letter provides an excellent overview of the disorder, describing the research evidence as “overwhelmingly … indicating that the disease is a brain- based highly heritable … neurodevelopmental disorder. … Prevailing hypotheses … include dysregulation of the dopamine, glutamate and GABA neurotransmitter systems. Synaptic pruning—a critical process that refines neural circuits … is perturbed, in particular during adolescence … significant enough to show decreased grey matter volume in structural MRI studies of schizophrenia.”
This disorder shares features with the two neurologically based disorders of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease (brain/cognitive deterioration along with social/sensory/motor/affective disturbances, brain structural and functional changes, clinical rather than lab-based diagnosis, genetic basis, treatment via meds and research approaches). The main difference is the paucity of timely and appropriate care for the individual with schizophrenia, with “striking rates of patients being untreated, homeless and incarcerated … associated with much suffering, debilitation and public health cost.”
So if you’d like to encourage a more humane and studied approach to mental illness that fully realizes that we are dealing with a brain/neurological disorder, we recommend that you take a look at the SARDAA website and do some advocacy towards that end.