Some scientists suspect that schizophrenia involves problems with the endochrine (hormone) systems. Reasons to suspect a schizophrenia-endochrine link include:
- Hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism and Cushing’s syndrome can all produce schizophrenia-like symptoms.
- Post-partum psychosis is induced by hormone changes after delivery.
- Female reproductive hormone levels are abnormal in women with schizophrenia.
- Compulsive water drinking, which sometime occurs in schizophrenia, may be linked to pituitary hormones.
Diabetes, a disease which involves the hormone insulin, seems to have associations with schizophrenia:
- Insulin coma has been reported to cause brief remission in people with schizophrenia.
- Schizophrenia is less common in Type I diabetics than in the general population.
- Schizophrenia is more common in Type II diabetics than in the general population.
- Some atypical antipsychotics increase the chances of developing Type II diabetes.
Researchers are studying the relationship between hormones and schizophrenia. It is too early to know if endocrine problems are a cause of schizophrenia, an effect of the schizophrenia, or the result of an underlying process that causes schizophrenia.