Schizophrenia is genetic, should you be worried?

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Schizophrenia is genetic, should you be worried?

 

Schizophrenia is a severe mental disorder and often results in psychotic episodes.1 Should you worry about the hereditary nature of the disorder? This is a question healthcare professionals have faced for years, and studies show that it comes down to the genetic make-up of a person living with the disorder.1

Schizophrenia is known to be passed down through generations, but no single gene is responsible.1 Instead, it is a combination of genes that make people vulnerable, and doesn’t always result in the onset of schizophrenia.1

The shared genetics of family members

The risk of schizophrenia is that 1% of the general population may show symptoms. However, if a person has a First Degree Relative (FDR) such as a parent or sibling, the risk of developing schizophrenia rises to 10%. What’s more, if both parents were diagnosed with schizophrenia, the risk increases to 50%.2

These statistics highlight that genetics play a role in the development of schizophrenia between family members, however, there are other causes of schizophrenia that may include,2

Environmental triggers2

Being exposed to certain viruses and toxins may increase the chance of developing schizophrenia. Malnutrition at birth can also contribute to developing schizophrenia.

Brain chemistry2

Fluctuating brain chemicals may cause schizophrenia as chemicals such as neurotransmitters of dopamine and glutamate, may be imbalanced and result in the onset of schizophrenia.

Substance abuse2

The use of psychoactive or psychotropic substances in teens or young adults may result in an onset of schizophrenia at a later age. Due to chemicals that are prevalent in illicit substances, the brain chemistry is impacted and brings on symptoms of schizophrenia.

Immune system activation2

There is a link between autoimmune diseases and schizophrenia. However, only a small percentage of people with autoimmune diseases develop schizophrenia.

The above causes play a role when diagnosing schizophrenia, but it’s best to seek the opinion of medical professionals if you or a loved one exhibit symptoms of schizophrenia.

For more information on symptoms, mindfulness techniques and helpful advice, visit the Schizophrenia24x7 website or join the Our Mental Health Facebook Community, where like-minded people share insights and advice on schizophrenia and other mental disorders. 

References:

  1. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/schizophrenia/causes/#:~:text=Genetics,mean%20you'll%20develop%20schizophrenia.
  2. https://www.healthline.com/health/is-schizophrenia-hereditary#other-causes

 

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