Psychosis in Women: Gender Differences in Presentation, Onset, Course and Outcome of Schizophrenia

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Abstract

Schizophrenia and related psychoses are pervasive and debilitating conditions in which gender differences are evident. The treatment of women with schizophrenia has a shameful past and a brief historical context is provided in this chapter as the background for the relatively recent consideration of gender differences in schizophrenia. Gender has become an increasingly relevant factor in the understanding of development and outcomes of schizophrenia. There is evidence for significant differences in the onset, symptoms, course and outcome of schizophrenia in women compared with men. These differences need to inform prevention and treatment strategies in order to improve the outcomes for both women and men with schizophrenia. Epidemiological findings as well as several important biological hypotheses have been used to explain the existing gender differences. One of these hypotheses is the `estrogen protection hypothesis? and an overview of the effects of estrogen in the brain will be discussed. Gender differences in childhood development, neurobiological, social and environmental factors, may all contribute to the development of schizophrenia. Prevention and treatment strategies tailored for women with schizophrenia are also discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWomen and Health
EditorsMarlene B Goldman, Rebecca Troisi, Kathryn M Rexrode
Place of PublicationUSA
PublisherElsevier
Pages1283-1291
Number of pages9
Edition2nd
ISBN (Print)9780123849786
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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