Could Some Cases of Schizophrenia Be Caused by an Autoimmune Disease?

What is Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a mental disorder when people fail to differentiate between reality and virtuality. The most common symptom is known as psychosis. The person suffering from Schizophrenia experiences hallucinations, delusions, disorganized speech, strange behavior, impairs in daily functions.

The treatment for Schizophrenia is carried using medicine as well as talking therapy sometimes including art therapy too. The treatments last for life, which helps the patient not cure the condition but live a normal life in a long-term view.


What is Autoimmune disease?

Our immune system protects our body from germs, bacteria, or viruses. Our immune system can easily bifurcate between our body cells and foreign cells. But, in auto-immune disease, the condition is reversed, our immune system rather than guarding us and fighting against the germs mistakenly attacks our body.


Autoimmune disease and Schizophrenia

Lately, the number of diseases caused due to autoimmunity as a base has increased. Several genetic factors resemble an autoimmune disease. Certain reports suggest finding dopamine pathways in some areas of the brain, which is the cause for Schizophrenia. It is believed that Schizophrenia, on studying under the precedent’s life of autoimmune disease, is caused by the autoantibodies interacting with hormone receptors and increase their levels.



Studies have observed that the chances of a person getting affected by Schizophrenia after being affected by Psoriasis have increased. Though the results are conflicting. Also, there is a possibility of a person’s family suffering from psoriasis having a history of Schizophrenia.


Another autoimmune disease, it targets peripheral reportedly increased in people suffering from Schizophrenia. Also, if the person has suffered from Guillain-Barré, then there are chances of a person to suffer from Schizophrenia.

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA):

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and Schizophrenia are considered to be in inverse relation, the person suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is seemed to be less affected by Schizophrenia.

Multi-system autoimmune disorders:

Multi-system autoimmune disorders exhibit various psychiatric symptoms. For instance, Systemic Lupus Erythematous (SLE) exhibits many psychiatric manifestations, especially those that are related and observed in Schizophrenia including psychosis, though ample results are failing this consistency.

Sjogren’s syndrome:

Sjogren’s syndrome exhibits various symptoms similar to those found in Schizophrenia. The common symptoms found in Sjogren’s syndrome and Schizophrenia are personality change of the patient suffering from the syndrome whereas in Schizophrenia the person undergoes a various change in its behaviors (anti-social, difficult to start a conversation), the person suffers from cognitive dysfunction same as that in Schizophrenia (where the patient loses his/her intellectual ability to make a decision, reasoning and inability to perceive thoughts).

Limbic Encephlatides:

Limbic Encephlatides, the name given to disorders forming a group give the proofs that psychiatric symptoms are caused due to autoimmune disorders.

Multiple Sclerosis:

Multiple Sclerosis – an autoimmune disease exhibiting depression, anxiety (neuropsychiatric symptoms), have reflected in studies that person suffering from it have increase potential to suffer from Schizophrenia. The study of evidence between Multiple Sclerosis and psychosis is limited and the results are often conflicting.

Autoimmune Thyroid Disorder:

Hypothyroidism- the condition where the thyroid doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormones, is considered to be caused due to Grave’s disease. Grave’s disease is linked with neuropsychiatric issues. Studies suggest that a person suffering from Grave’s disease has an increased risk of suffering from Schizophrenia. These studies suggest a positive association between the two conditions. Yet, there is no significant proof found.


Antibodies are considered important in linking autoimmune disease with that to mental illness, is the presence of neuronal surface antibodies (NSAbs). Glutamic acid decarboxylase antibodies (GADAbs) are also linked with several neurological problems.

Apart from this, infections, psychological, stress, the microbiome, genetics are also considered to have links that would relate to symptoms like that in Schizophrenia. 

Though, the results are conflicting certain in favor and certain in against. The patients must be thoroughly examined and observed. The symptoms must not be overlooked. Also, as sufficient treatments are available for treating autoimmune diseases, these must not be overlooked, it only increases the health gap between Schizophrenia and other autoimmune diseases even more.

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