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From what I understand about the physiology of schizophrenia it is thought to be caused by chemical imbalances resulting from genetic factors, fueled by environmental factors. I've garnered that environmental factors can play a large role in how a person reacts to the disease.

As an example: a person with a genetic predisposition towards schizophrenia is raised in an abusive household with his parents yelling everyday, they will definitely become angry and more stressed out, which one might assume would lead to their eventual psychotic break. Is this 100% correct? Another person who might be less stressed out, probably raised in a normal family, could potentially experience troubling symptoms before a complete psychotic break. Is this a valid assumption or observed pattern in those who suffer from the disease?

So, if environmental factors can contribute to the onset of schizophrenia, could the removal of these factors lessen the symptoms? Take for example Jared Loughner, he will be spending life in prison. With time away from society, with the stresses of life removed, and (given the correct medication), could incarcerated schizophrenia patients' symptoms be ameliorated by this change in social situation?

Any info on this?

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Schizophrenia covers a wide spectrum of symptoms, so I think this is difficult to answer in the general case. If a patient is delusional, the very notion of "own willpower" becomes a bit cloudy. – Chuck Sherrington Jul 10 '13 at 22:39
(so, I think it's a good question as well, but a yes/no answer is going to be difficult to pin down). John Nash is an example of someone who has done battle with the disease for decades, including trying to decrease his own levels of medication (see his synopsis of this at the end of "A Beautiful Mind") with varying degrees of success. – Chuck Sherrington Jul 10 '13 at 22:42
It is important to keep in mind that genetic factors are easily exaggerated. For schizophrenia, having a first-degree relative with the disorder raises the risk from below 1% to 6.5% (article), but that still means that the vast, vast majority (93.5%) of people with a first-degree relative who has schizophrenia do not develop it. – Dan M. Jul 12 '13 at 8:39

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