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Does Family History of Schizophrenia Mean I’ll Be Schizophrenic?

From a teen in the U.S.: My mother has had borderline bipolar disorder, and paranoid schizophrenia with psychotic tendencies (one of her many roughly similar diagnoses) since her 20s. Her mother also had similar mental health issues. My mother inherited these issues, but her sister and brothers did not. My father also has a few less severe mental health issues and this resulted in less than favorable conditions for my childhood. I was wondering what are my chances for having schizophrenia since onset could occur in the next 5 or so years for me.

Does Family History of Schizophrenia Mean I’ll Be Schizophrenic?

A.

Thank you for writing. I can certainly understand why you may be worried that you will inherit the disorder. Unfortunately, since I’m not an expert in the field, I can’t give you a definitive answer.

However, from what I’ve been able to discover in a search of more recent research papers, although schizophrenia seems to recur in some families, it doesn’t in others. In still others, it seems to skip generations. Researchers are trying to identify the reason. It seems that there are other factors involved besides pure genetics that may contribute to the onset of the disorder. Developing the illness seems to depend on a combination of genetic and other stressors on a person’s system.

Here’s an article that appeared in PsychCentral a couple of years ago that you may find useful: Do People Inherit Schizophrenia?

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Does Family History of Schizophrenia Mean I’ll Be Schizophrenic?

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). Does Family History of Schizophrenia Mean I’ll Be Schizophrenic?. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 9, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2018/10/09/does-family-history-of-schizophrenia-mean-ill-be-schizophrenic/

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 9 Oct 2018
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 9 Oct 2018
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.