Exercise as an Adjunct Treatment for Schizophrenia

Authored by: Guy Faulkner , Paul Gorczynski , Kelly Arbour-Nicitopoulos

Routledge Handbook of Physical Activity and Mental Health

Print publication date:  April  2013
Online publication date:  August  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415782999
eBook ISBN: 9780203132678
Adobe ISBN: 9781136477805


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Schizophrenia is the most disabling and persistent form of severe mental illness. It is generally considered a disease related to brain abnormalities caused by a range of specific genetic and/or environmental factors (Tandon, Keshavan, & Nasrallah, 2008a). Its annual incidence averages 15 per 100,000, and the risk of developing the illness over one's lifetime is approximately 0.7% (Tandon, Keshavan, & Nasrallah, 2008b). The usual presentation in late adolescence/early adulthood places incredible demands on individuals, their families, and society itself. The symptoms of schizophrenia can be divided into positive and negative symptoms because of their impact on diagnosis and treatment, although it is important to highlight that the range and nature of symptoms vary widely between individuals (USDHHS, 1999). Positive symptoms are those that appear to reflect an excess or distortion of normal functions and are manifested in symptoms such as delusions, hallucinations, and thought disorder. Negative symptoms are those that appear to reflect a reduction or loss of normal functions and reflect symptoms such as affective flattening, apathy, social withdrawal, and cognitive impairments.

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