Schizophrenia and Spina Bifida

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

I am the mother of a 21 year old son who has schizophrenia. I myself was put up for adoption when I was an infant because my biological mother had spina bifida and was unable to care for me. Is there a link between spina bifida and schizophrenia? The reason why I am asking is that my son was diagnosed in 2010 with schizophrenia and I am still trying to figure out how he got this disease. I do not know anything about my biological parents except my mother had spina bifida. My son’s biological father’s family has no family history of any mental illness as far as I know. We are divorced and my ex-husband has not had any contact with my son or his brother in over 15 years. I do not have schizophrenia or any type of mental illness. So is there a link between the two diseases? Thank you for your time and look forward to coming back and reading your response. Concerned Mother in Georgia.

A. I am not aware of any research that suggests a link between spina bifida and schizophrenia. Researchers have not definitively determined the cause of schizophrenia. Generally, it is believed to be a combination of biological and environmental factors. Some research also suggests that drug use, stress or having experienced a trauma may be linked to the development of schizophrenia.

Children who have parents with schizophrenia are at an increased risk for the development of the disorder but that does not mean that schizophrenia is inevitable. There are many cases in which an individual has developed schizophrenia and yet there is no known genetic link.

The reality, for people with schizophrenia and their family members, is that they will likely never determine the cause. In my experience, what is most important is receiving effective treatment, having supportive family and friends, achieving stability and trying to ensure the highest quality of life.

In general, you should learn everything you can about the disorder. It would help. I wish you and your son the best of luck.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 24 Jun 2012

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2012). Schizophrenia and Spina Bifida. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 21, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/06/24/schizophrenia-and-spina-bifida/