Family History of Schizophrenia: Am I Next?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Like I said I have a long family history of mental disorders: suicide, depression, schizophrenia and psychosis. Recently, well the last year, I have been experencing some very scary things happening to me (hearing voices, thoughs of suicide, adam and sarah stuff…) but I brush them off really. But today (2/22) was the last straw, somthing really bad happened. I was in Spanish Class and I was just listening to the lecture than all of a sudden I see Sarah! I never see Sarah I only hear her. I mean hearing her is distracting enough but now I see her and than she starts yelling weird things at me. Eventually I leave the lecture (leaving my stuff behind me) and run to the bathroom. I sat on the bathroom floor for most of the lecture freaking out (hyperventaling, pleading with adam and sarah to shut up and go away!) This is bad I want it to stop! I mean, do you think I am over reacting? Or should I think about talking to the schools therapist? Oh I also have epilepsy and take Lamitical and Zonegran (Anti-Seizure meds).

A. Having a family history of mental health disorders does not mean that you will develop a mental illness but it does slightly increase your chances. It is concerning, however that you have experienced what may be delusions and hallucinations. You heard voices. Now you see “Sarah” and “Adam.” It’s causing you a significant amount of stress and making it difficult for you to function at school.

You asked if I think that you should talk to the school therapist and I believe you should. What you are experiencing may or may not be indicative of a mental health disorder. It may be related to a medication problem, or possibly epilepsy or seizure activity. The only way to know for certain is to be evaluated.

Here is what your next steps should be: Speak to the school therapist. Detail what happened to you in the classroom. Tell the school therapist that you have heard voices, seen people who were not there and that have been experiencing suicidal ideation. It is important that you do not ignore your symptoms and that you speak to a mental health professional. Please try not to be frightened and understand that these symptoms need to be evaluated. It is for your safety and protection.

I hope you will speak to the school therapist immediately. It is the best way to handle the situation. Go to the emergency room or call 911 if you feel that you might harm yourself. Please let me know if you have any further questions. Thank you for your question.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 20 Mar 2010

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2010). Family History of Schizophrenia: Am I Next?. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 25, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/03/20/family-history-of-schizophrenia-am-i-next/