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It is suggested that schizophrenia is caused by low availability of the adrenal hormone, DHEA, and the pineal hormone, melatonin, during critical times of brain development. Reduced DHEA reduces growth and development of the cerebral hemispheres.
Later in life, events occur that decrease the availability of DHEA, in addition to already low DHEA; this reduces function in
under-developed areas of the brain and produces schizophrenia. This pattern has been noticed in the past, but this explanation is an entirely new theory.

Schizophrenia occurs when DHEA availability is reduced in late teens or early twenties. Since reduced melatonin is producing few receptors for DHEA, anything that will reduce the limited supplies of DHEA of schizophrenics will dramatically reduce its positive effects on the brain. DHEA stimulates metabolism, especially in the brain. This is most pronounced in the frontal areas of schizophrenics, who are known to exhibit reduced frontal metabolism.

Initial research reports benefits of DHEA supplementation in the management of negative, depressive, and anxiety symptoms of schizophrenia. Some of the side effects from prescription drugs used for schizophrenia may also be relieved.

Clinical Studies

  • In 1965, Lairy and co-workers noted a relative dearth of stage 4 (S4) in the sleep of delusional schizophrenic patients.
    In a more systematic study, Caldwell and Domino demonstrated a 50% reduction of mean S4 sleep in 25 unmedicated schizophrenic patients as compared with ten medical student controls. This finding has since been repeatedly confirmed in both acute and chronic schizophrenics and with precise control for age and some control for hospitalization.

  • Individuals of low DHEA would seek drugs that increase DHEA. Schizophrenics would be more prone to have significantly low DHEA. It is known that nicotine significantly increases the reserve form of DHEA, DHEA sulfate. DHEA is made from DHEAS. Cigarette smoking was measured in all patients hospitalized at a state hospital (N = 360) and compared in relation to gender and diagnosis (schizophrenic versus nonschizophrenic). The overall frequency of smoking was 79% (N = 284). Male schizophrenic patients had the highest frequency of smoking, followed by male nonschizophrenic patients, female schizophrenic patients, and female nonschizophrenic patients, respectively. After correction for other variables, schizophrenia appears to increase the risk of being both a smoker and a heavy smoker. It has been found that [schizophrenic] patients who smoked had a significantly earlier age at onset of psychiatric illness as compared to the nonsmokers.










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