Just because your mother has schizophrenia does not mean that you will also develop schizophrenia. Having a first-degree relative with schizophrenia increases your chances of developing the disorder, but it most certainly doesn’t mean that you will. Many, many children of schizophrenics never develop the disorder. From my experience, I would say that most do not, though almost all worry about it happening.
If the cause of schizophrenia were known, multiple theories would not exist; there would only be one theory — “the” theory of schizophrenia. The fact remains that the cause of schizophrenia has not been identified.
The prevailing theory of schizophrenia is that it is a brain disease. Genetics are thought to play a role but how much of a role is not clearly known. Many researchers believe that stress and environment play a major role in the development of schizophrenia but how much of a role, remains a mystery.
It is common for people who have relatives with schizophrenia to worry that they too will get it. Having a parent with a severe mental illness often means having to be ultra-vigilant about one’s own mental health. At this point, your worries are beyond vigilant; they are causing you major distress and that is a problem that needs corrected.
It is also common for people with anxiety disorders to think that they have schizophrenia. It may be that your uncontrolled anxiety is causing your fears of developing schizophrenia.
I would recommend consulting a mental health professional. They will help you to manage your overwhelming emotions and gain control over your fears. Anxiety typically doesn’t get better without treatment. The good news is that anxiety is highly treatable with both counseling and medication.
You were raised by a mother with schizophrenia. Under those circumstances, your sense of mental health stability might have been skewed because of the odd nature of her behavior. You need someone who can “anchor” you in reality and provide emotional support. A therapist can serve as a powerful, objective source of mental health stability. Counseling can effectively address all the problems you have written about and it will help you to feel better. I wish you well. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle