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Doctors may be on track to better detect and treat schizophrenia

There is still a lot we don't know about mental illness, including why some conditions develop in the first place. According to a new study by the Columbia University Medical Center, however, we may be one step closer to understanding why certain people are predisposed to schizophrenia, a serious disorder that can make it very difficult to work.

Because mental illnesses are often invisible to the eye, many people may forget that individuals with mental health issues are often eligible for disability benefits. They, like everyone else, will work with their disability lawyers to show that they are unable to work because of their health conditions. Unlike people with physical disabilities, however, they may have a bit more difficulty in demonstrating that they are unable to work, especially because many people with mental illness have both good and bad days.

Given time, however, the research team behind this new study could have therapies available to make earlier detections of who will develop schizophrenia and then treat the condition. How far off that treatment will be remains to be seen.

Individuals with severe cases of schizophrenia often experience hallucinations and delusions. They may also have difficulty forming thoughts and could even develop physical ticks. It is no wonder why a larger percentage of the approximately 2.4 million people with schizophrenia aren't able to work.

Schizophrenia also typically manifests between the ages of 16 and 30, meaning that some people who develop the condition won't have worked long enough to receive Social Security disability insurance benefits. Instead, they will apply for Supplemental Security Income.

Source: Medical News Today, "Researchers identify genetic mutations that may cause schizophrenia," Honor Whiteman, May 29, 2014

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