How schizophrenia develops remains a mystery. Schizophrenia affects about 1% of the population. Having a relative with the disorder slightly increases one’s chances of developing schizophrenia. The vast majority of children, where one or both parents have been diagnosed with schizophrenia, never develop schizophrenia.
Your son’s potential wife has an increased chance of developing schizophrenia, but that does not mean that she will, in fact she most likely won’t. Genes may be involved in the development of schizophrenia but that is only part of the story. There are other variables involved, including stress level, socioeconomic status, illicit substance use, history of abuse and trauma, among others.
It seems as though you’ve resigned yourself to the idea that her developing schizophrenia is inevitable, but that certainly is not true. In reality, her odds of developing schizophrenia are only slightly higher than yours or your son’s.
Your level of concern should match the likelihood of a particular event occurring. In this case, there is a high probability that she will not develop schizophrenia. Given those odds, your concern level should be relatively low.
Schizophrenia can be successfully treated. It is a complicated illness but those afflicted can live happy, symptom-free lives.
Studies have also found that supportive family members can positively influence psychotic illness outcomes. Love does not cure schizophrenia but the more supportive the family, the fewer the possible episodes.
If you have additional questions or information that you would like to provide, please don’t hesitate to write again. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle