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Is schizophrenia hereditary? risk factors and treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Among mental disorders, schizophrenia is one of the best known and affects about 21 million people globally, although its incidence is lower than other pathologies. It can affect both men and women, and the signs of this disease often appear between 17 and 29 years of age.

A person who possibly has schizophrenia could have changes in their behavior or exaggerate their emotions, present symptoms such as paranoia, thought disorders, delusions, hallucinations, hears or perceiving things that no one else can, among others.

Schizophrenia has no cure, but symptoms can be controlled with proper treatment; however, there is always the possibility of relapsing. But more and more people can continue with a good quality of life and start a family, although with the uncertainty of passing the disease on to their descendants. For this reason, if you have doubts about whether schizophrenia is hereditary? In this FastlyHealarticle, we will inform you about it and other relevant points of schizophrenia.

What is schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a disorder in which there is a physical and biochemical variation in the brain, basically consisting of the alteration of certain neurotransmitters, which are the elements that transmit information, such as the things we see and feel, from one neuron to another.

As this modification exists and there is not a correct connection, the information that is transmitted is usually misinterpreted or associated in a different way, which leads the person with schizophrenia to present hallucinations, ideas of persecution, and other symptoms. As the alteration is at the brain level, although the information about what surrounds them and what is associated with the body itself is frequently wrong, people with schizophrenia see and perceive it as accurate, making it difficult for others to try to explain to them that these situations are not part of reality.

Frequently, they tend to feel misunderstood, affecting their behavior more, closing in on themselves, and sometimes become aggressive or depressed, hence the importance of properly treating the disorder; However, each person is different and can react in different ways to this disease, and some cases can be more severe than others.

Before the disease, a person with schizophrenia could have lived like anyone else without showing signs of a problem. It has been observed that intense, stressful, or tense situations tend to stimulate and trigger the development of this disorder, such as the death of a loved one, leaving home, the use of certain drugs, or after the birth of a child, since not being able to handle these situations the brain breaks down.

Is schizophrenia hereditary?

Before producing effective drugs to control the symptoms of schizophrenia, patients with this disorder used not have a partner and were even admitted to psychiatric centers for a long time. However, nowadays, the number of people with schizophrenia who manage to start a family following treatment increases. Still, there remains uncertainty about whether schizophrenia is hereditary, whether it will be transmitted to children or the possibility of developing schizophrenia if a family member suffers from it.

Although there are many cases of patients without some family history with schizophrenia, the probability of suffering from this disorder increases if it has occurred in the family history since it is considered that a fundamental factor is a genetic load and with it the possibility of inheriting the mutations of multiple genes responsible for the functioning of the brain.

On the other hand, even when there is a risk of suffering from this disorder, it does not mean that it is obligatory to present it, since many times it is necessary that other factors are involved in triggering the disease and its symptoms, in addition to the predisposition of the person.

Taking this into account, the chances of inheriting schizophrenia may vary and will depend on the person’s blood relationship with the family member with the disorder; for example:

  • The children of a person with schizophrenia have about a 12% chance of developing the disease.
  • The children of two people with schizophrenia have a 40% to 55% chance of inheriting the disorder.
  • If the patient has a twin, the risk of the other developing schizophrenia is 50% in identical siblings and 5% to 15% in twins.
  • The nephew of a patient with schizophrenia has an approximately 8.5% chance of suffering from the disease.
  • Other second-degree relatives of the patient, such as uncles, grandchildren, or cousins, may have a 2.5% risk of developing schizophrenia.

Risk factors for developing schizophrenia

Although it has not been established what causes the alteration in the brain that produces schizophrenia, certain factors have been detected that increase the chances of suffering from this disorder, mainly:

  • Family history, the probability is more significant if there have been cases of schizophrenia in the family, no matter how many generations have passed. However, it can also develop without a family history.
  • Genetic alterations, it is considered that mutations in several of the genes involved in neuronal activity, memory, and learning could be determinants for developing schizophrenia.
  • Biochemical alterations in the brain, mainly in neurotransmitters such as dopamine.
  • Factors during pregnancy, complications during childbirth, or some situations during pregnancy could cause poor development in the pregnant woman’s brain.

Treatment of schizophrenia

Currently, there are a series of very effective treatments for schizophrenia, improving the quality of life of the patient, with the ability to work and allowing him to start a family if he so wishes.

Once the schizophrenia disorder has been diagnosed in a person, the specialist will include antipsychotic drugs to promote the chemical balance of the brain, normalizing its functions and regulating the central nervous system. The doctor will indicate the dose and antipsychotic according to the patient’s condition and the degree of the disease. It is essential that treatment for schizophrenia is not suspended or altered, as it could lead to relapses or deterioration of the condition.

In addition to the follow-up with drugs, the treatment can be accompanied by psychotherapy in the best way that the specialist recommends gradually introducing it to society and improving the relationship with the family and others.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Is schizophrenia hereditary? We recommend that you enter our category of Mental Disorders .

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