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

  1. Aug 14, 2009 #1
    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.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 15, 2009 #2


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    The NIH is a trusted organization where you can read more information: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/schizophrenia/index.shtml

    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:
    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.
  4. Aug 15, 2009 #3


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    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.
  5. Sep 5, 2009 #4
    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.
  6. Sep 8, 2009 #5
    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.
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2009
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