Dept. of Psychiatry
300 George Street
New Haven, CT
Schizophrenia Research Clinic
The mission of the Schizophrenia Research Clinic is to develop a better understanding of the biological causes of schizophrenia, and to develop better treatments. The Schizophrenia Research Clinic is staffed by faculty-physicians of the Department of Psychiatry in the Yale School of Medicine, and has existed for many years. The Schizophrenia Research Clinic is located at the Connecticut Mental Health Center with programs at the VA Connecticut Healthcare System, West Haven campus. The clinics conduct studies evaluating new medications used in the treatment of schizophrenia, including Aripiprazole, Atomoxetine, D'Serine, Riluzole, Pimozide and many others. Many of the drugs currently available, like Clozapine, Risperidone, and Abilify, were tested in these clinics before they became available to the general public. The clinics offer free psychiatric evaluation, medical assessments and inpatient or out patient treatment for individuals suffering from schizophrenia who qualify for ongoing research studies. There are different programs to meet each individuals needs and wishes.
What Is Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a serious brain disorder. It is a disease that makes it difficult for a person to tell the difference between what is real and unreal, to think logically, to have normal emotional responses to others, and to behave normally in social situations. Schizophrenia affects several brain areas, some of which are responsible for processing incoming sensations, information and generating appropriate emotions. As a result, people with schizophrenia may have difficulty with remembering, talking, and behaving appropriately. However, no single symptom is found in all individuals, nor is any one individual burdened with all the various signs and symptoms of schizophrenia. Schizophrenia can be very incapacitating for both the people with schizophrenia and their families. People with schizophrenia often have difficulty functioning in society, they may not be able to work or go to school. Schizophrenia is not a "split personality". It is not caused by a bad upbringing, personal weakness or laziness. Schizophrenia is a medical illness like hypertension or diabetes, does not have a cure, but with proper management its symptoms can be controlled. Over the past few years major breakthroughs have been made in our understanding of the illness; as a result better treatments are currently available and others are in development. Schizophrenia requires professional evaluation and treatment from people sympathetic to and experienced with the disease.
Signs and Symptoms of Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia most commonly begins between the ages of 15 and 25.This list describes some, but certainly not all of the symptoms of schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is one of the most common mental illnesses. About 1% of the world's population has schizophrenia.
What Causes Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a puzzling and complex illness. Currently schizophrenia is believed to be caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. It may be that there is too much or the brain is too sensitive to the effects of a substance called dopamine. Dopamine is one of several brain chemicals (neurotransmitters that allow nerve cells to send messages to one another). Both genetic factors, like a family history of schizophrenia, and environmental factors like life stresses, can contribute to schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is not something that someone who suffers with it has brought upon him or herself. It is not due to personal weakness.
As with any mental illness, a psychiatrist must first ensure the patient has had thorough physical, neurological, and laboratory examinations. The psychiatrist will also ask about a patient's background, history of drug and alcohol use, and prior treatment in order to gain the complete understanding needed to best help the patient. Men and women aged 18 to 70 are eligible. Services are free of charge.
The treatment offered includes individual psychotherapy ("talk" treatment) and pharmacotherapy (medication treatment). Patients who have not previously responded to conventional treatments may have the opportunity to receive new and potentially effective medications not yet available to general psychiatrists. The treatment for most patients ranges from 6 months to longer.
Men and women aged 18 - 70 are eligible. Services are free of charge.
For Information or Referral:
For more information about the Schizophrenia Research Clinics, please call (203) 974-7540 and ask for Kimberlee Bielen, Monday - Friday, 8:30am- 5:00pm or Ms. Lia Donahue at (203) 932-5711 ext. 2526.
Yale Psychiatry also sponsors other research clinics for people with related conditions, including the early or "prodromal" phase of psychosis.
Last modified: November 6, 2008