The Chemistry of Schizophrenia


Schizophrenia is a severe mental disorder that affects how someone sees and experiences events in their life. Schizophrenia can cause people to hallucinate a variety of different anomalies. People affected most commonly claim that people are talking to them through the walls and they believe that they were kidnapped by aliens and everyone around them is working to kill them. This illness is highly misunderstood and is in need of public awareness. I chose this topic because this disorder needs to be understood and information needs to be provided so those affected are not being judged based on stereotypes.Composition of ...In schizophrenia the NMDA receptors in the brain are affected by the neurotoxins produced through chemical reactions that create hydrogen peroxide and nitric oxide. This process also involves many other ions and enzymes. Schizophrenia uses both Calcium + ions and Calcium ++ ions. This process also includes eight enzymes including phospholipase A2, arachidonic acid, prostaglandin H, Ascorbate, Carnosine, Glutamate, Glutathione, and Dopamine. All of these components work together to affect neurons and produce the tell tale signs of schizophrenia.

Main Chemicals, Compounds, Components

The two main chemicals of schizophrenia are hydrogen peroxide and nitric oxide. Hydrogen peroxide or H₂O₂ is created when the body releases reactive oxygen species are released. Then the amount of hydrogen increases even more when the nitric oxide synthesis occurs. When these both diffuse it creates a neurotoxic effect that create the symptoms of schizophrenia.

Chemistry's Role

Hydrogen peroxide and nitric oxide are both naturally occurring in the body. The processes that they cause were found by the study of the effects of ketamine and PCP on neuron synapse and what they produce. The causes of schizophrenia start with the activation of the NMDA receptors on the glutamate synapse. Calcium + ions activate neuro destructive proteases and nucleases along with the phospholipase A2 enzyme. This enzyme causes phospholipids in membranes to convert into arachidonic acid (AA). AA causes the prostaglandin H synthesis to occur which causes the release of large amounts of reactive oxygen species including hydrogen peroxide. Calcium ++ ions activates nitric oxide synthesis which releases more reactive oxygen species including nitric oxide. The diffusion of hydrogen peroxide and nitric oxide back into the glutamate synapse has a neurotoxic effect when it does not have antioxidant defences.



    • A diagnostic book that provides the clinical symptoms and diagnosis criteria

    • Provides information on the development of schizophrenia
    • Provides statistics on different factors

    • Provides general information on developmental course, causes, and some treatments

    • Provides symptoms of the disorder and treatment recommendations

    • Tells about the chemistry involved in schizophrenia

    • Tells about lobotomy and how it was used to treat schizophrenia
    • Tells about the issues that can happen in development that cause schizophrenia

    • Medical textbook information
    • Provides information on every component of schizophrenia
    • Provides scientific information on schizophrenia

About the Author

Cassie Martinez is a junior at Senior High School. She enjoys learning about how chemistry affects everyday life. After she graduates she plans on pursuing her interest in medicine. She is on the Honor roll and has a letter in band and in speech and debate.