There is a physical world and a world of meanings, symbols and social relationships. Neuroscience considers brain as a biological machine. Social science studies the human relationships.
Nowadays we know cerebral processes underlying several aspects of social behavior.
Cerebral damages or dysfunctions can influence the social behavior, as well as the social experiences can shape the development, structuring and functioning of the brain and, consequently, condition the further responses of the individuals to the social events. Humans are embodied subject. In an objective sense we are bodies with a brain, in a subjective sense we are individuals in a social world. This is a relevant matter for all the medical sciences, not only for psychiatry.
The real-life functioning of individuals with schizophrenia shows deficits in several daily-life abilities, in social relationships and in the work activities. According to literature and clinical practice, basic criterions are: bio-psycho-social vulnerability, stressful life events, coping strategies as well as social and relational competence.
Neurocognitive activity shows a straight correlation, albeit indirect, with the real-life functioning. Positive symptoms, negative symptoms and disorganized behavior can considerably influence the real-life functioning. While social and relational competence, the general functioning and resilience are protective factors that can positively condition real-life functioning. Moreover, welfare services (i.e. assisted job placement; disability subsidies; etc.) and a good family and social network can considerably influence the results.
According to the results above, we can affirm the importance to adopt integrated and personalized therapeutic-rehabilitative program for the treatment of schizophrenia and other serious mental disorders.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.