Schizophrenia more common among people growing up without green spaces, finds study

Schizophrenia more common among people growing up without green spaces, finds study

Of all the factors that impact an individual’s mental health, environment and nature too play an important role. This point was reinforced by a recent study by a team of Danish researchers that people living in green spaces are less likely to develop schizophrenia compared to those living without green spaces.

The study by the Department of Bioscience and the Centre for Register Research at the Aarhus University, Denmark, found that people who grow up without green spaces have 50 per cent higher chance of developing schizophrenia compared to those who grow up in a greener surrounding.

As part of the study, the researchers used the satellite maps of green spaces of Denmark between 1985 and 2013 along with the data from the country’s national registers for people born between 1985 and 2003 and diagnosed with schizophrenia. Of the total 943,027 people, 7,509 were diagnosed with schizophrenia and thus, were included in the study.

On analyzing the study sample, the lead author and Postdoc Kristine Engemann from the Department of Bioscience at the Aarhus University said that people who had minimal access to green spaces within 210sqm of their home were more likely to develop the illness. However, he also stressed that this did not imply that the absence of green surroundings would eventually lead to the development of schizophrenia later. It is rather found to be one of the factors that can lead to the development of the condition.

City dwellers at higher risk of schizophrenia

Since a majority of human population currently resides in cities, the researchers considered it important to have a clear understanding of the ways greenery can affect human health. Engemann said that the risk of developing schizophrenia is higher among city dwellers. Several past studies have proved that greener surroundings help in providing a stronger social connection and motivating people to venture out and exercise. This, in turn, also affects a person’s psychological health.

A few other studies have substantiated the fact that a child’s cognitive development becomes better when he/she is flanked by more greenery. This is because a child is less likely to deal with racing thoughts, which is a common symptom of schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia is a chronic illness

A severe mental illness characterized by hallucinations, delusions and other cognitive disabilities, schizophrenia affects the way an individual thinks, feels and behaves. It commonly affects a person in late adolescence or early adulthood and sometimes, during childhood. According to the Schizophrenia and Related Disorders Alliance of America (SARDAA), schizophrenia affects approximately 3.5 million people in the United States and is one of the leading causes of disability.

A number of factors contribute to the risk of developing schizophrenia, such as genetics, environment, altered brain chemistry and structure, drug addiction and family relationships. While the condition affects every individual differently, some of the common symptoms of schizophrenia are social withdrawal, cognitive impairment, lack of motivation, poor concentration and blunted emotions.

Seeking help is the key

Mental health issues like schizophrenia can affect anyone from any walk of life. Therefore, it is important for every individual to stay positive and talk about any mental health issue affecting his/her life. If you or someone you know is looking for a reputed and recognized schizophrenia treatment centers offering a comprehensive treatment for schizophrenia, Sovereign Health is one of the best mental health treatment centers in California. Call us at our 24/7 helpline or chat live with an expert to know about our top-notch mental health rehab centers in California.

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