Let’s think about this from a strictly logical, reality-based perspective. There is a low probability that you will develop schizophrenia but that fear has turned into an obsession. There is an equal or greater probability that you will develop many, many, other diseases but you aren’t worried about those disorders. Why not? If you are worried about schizophrenia, then you should also be worried about the thousands of other possible diseases and accidents that have an equal or greater possibility of occurring.
The probability, over a lifetime, of dying in a car accident is approximately 1 in 100. The chances of your developing schizophrenia are similar to dying in a car crash, yet you worry about the schizophrenia and not the car crash. Technically, you should also be concerned about dying in a car accident. There are many things that one could worry about and it is illogical to worry about one thing and not all things that are equally probable.
Millions of individuals have relatives with schizophrenia. They have an increased likelihood of developing the disorder but the vast majority of at-risk individuals do not develop schizophrenia. You are focused on the small probability that you will develop this disorder and are essentially ignoring the more likely outcome that you will not develop this disorder. That is not balanced thinking.
The key characteristic of schizophrenia is the inability to think logically. Your letter indicates that you are able to think quite logically. You are constantly analyzing your own thinking and seem to be cognitively functioning at a high level.
One of the keys to decreasing or eliminating your anxiety is to focus on reality. The probability that you will develop schizophrenia is very low. Thus, your anxiety or level of concern should be equally as low.
If OCD continues to be a problem in your life then you should consider psychotherapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy could be very beneficial to you. If you’d like to search for a therapist in your community, please click on the find help tab at top of this page. I wish you well. Please take care.
This article has been updated from the original version, which was originally published here on October 8, 2010.