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What are the chances I'll inherit schizophrenia from my father?

by Pupil
Tags: chances, father, inherit, schizophrenia
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Aug14-09, 05:43 PM
P: 136
Given that I'm not a psychologist or therapist, I don't know much about the disease or even his diagnosis, but he is paranoid and talks of his phone being tapped, hidden cameras, has grandiose ideas, claims experiencing things that could only be hallucinations, and makes illogical connections. He has a history of drug use (heavily uses marijuana, has prescribed medicine). He doesn't always behave in such ways, and is 'normal' most of the time. If I recall correctly, his father was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. My father never graduated from high school and can't do things such as spell even simple words. My mothers side of the family has no history of psychological disorders.

I can't even begin to describe how profoundly scared I am. I just graduated from high school and am attending college later this year and I shudder to think my life could be ruined by inheriting this frightening disease.

I'm 18 and, and -- as far as I know -- don't have any cognitive dysfunctions. I used marijuana casually from ages 15 to 16, but stopped abruptly and made the decision never to touch drugs of any kind again (alcohol or otherwise). I really appreciate any advice, knowledge, or websites you can provide. Thanks.
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Aug15-09, 11:04 AM
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The NIH is a trusted organization where you can read more information:

I think it is good of you to stand still and think about the implications for your own health, as should anyone who has a certain type of disease run in the family. On the other hand, you should not let it scare you (there is nothing to fear but fear itself).

This is what the NIH has to say about the heredity:
Can schizophrenia be inherited?

Scientists have long known that schizophrenia runs in families. It occurs in 1 percent of the general population but is seen in 10 percent of people with a first-degree relative (a parent, brother, or sister) with the disorder. People who have second-degree relatives (aunts, uncles, grandparents, or cousins) with the disease also develop schizophrenia more often than the general population. The identical twin of a person with schizophrenia is most at risk, with a 40 to 65 percent chance of developing the disorder.7

Our genes are located on 23 pairs of chromosomes that are found in each cell. We inherit two copies of each gene, one from each parent. Several of these genes are thought to be associated with an increased risk of schizophrenia, but scientists believe that each gene has a very small effect and is not responsible for causing the disease by itself. It is still not possible to predict who will develop the disease by looking at genetic material.

Although there is a genetic risk for schizophrenia, it is not likely that genes alone are sufficient to cause the disorder. Interactions between genes and the environment are thought to be necessary for schizophrenia to develop. Many environmental factors have been suggested as risk factors, such as exposure to viruses or malnutrition in the womb, problems during birth, and psychosocial factors, like stressful environmental conditions.
Since it is not clear which genes are primarily responsible, there are no genetic tests available. I think you made an excellent choice to stay away from abusive substances, since environmental factors do play a role in the disorder.

If you are still in doubt you can consult a doctor There are even specially trained genetic counselors who deal with this type of questions.
Aug15-09, 12:10 PM
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My father never graduated from high school and can't do things such as spell even simple words.
I just graduated from high school and am attending college later this year
It is natural for you to be scared that you might inherit your father's debilitating disease.

But look at the two factoids above!

You are past that hurdle your father met already.

That doesn't mean things are totally risk-free for you, but if I remember correctly, the vast majority of those who DO develop schizophrenia will do so in their mid-late teens.

Thus, to me, it seems that there is a lot less chance that you are going to develop this condition than if you had asked me when you were 12 or so.

Sep5-09, 07:54 PM
P: 18
What are the chances I'll inherit schizophrenia from my father?

Having it actually manifest when you're 12 is pretty rare. Common age is between 16-25 for men.

My suggestion is to be well-informed(tons of info out there, even though not a whole lot it known) and talk to counselors that specialize in that same question you are asking. Other than that, try not to let it stress you out too much. My sister was diagnosed with it, and through treatment/support, she is completely functional and is a fashion designer at a major clothing line. So chin up friend.
Sep8-09, 01:57 PM
P: 342
if i know right, the precent of having schizophrenia is also influenced by your IQ level.
the higher your IQ is, the smaller the chance for schizophrenia.

oh and i forgot. different ppl suffer from it differently. for example, my grandfather has it, yet he was a successful engineer before retirement.

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