Schizophrenia and Genetics: Does It Run in the Family?

Schizophrenia and Genetics: Does It Run in the Family?

Schizophrenia affects several people every day, but managing it is possible. In addition to handling it, most people may try to discover the cause of their schizophrenia. Is its development correlated to a traumatic event? Has substance use influenced it? Another question to ask is if you have a history of schizophrenia in your family. Unfortunately, schizophrenia and genetics are connected, which means having a family history will increase your chances of developing it at some point in your lifetime. 

Before you can seek professional treatment and get to the root of the condition, you must first discuss symptoms with your doctor and receive a diagnosis. Individuals with schizophrenia may also be susceptible to experiencing a mental health crisis. At Alter Mental Health San Diego Crisis Intervention, our crisis stabilization services can help you through any problem you may experience. 

What Is Schizophrenia?

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) describes schizophrenia as a “serious mental illness that affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves.” Individuals with schizophrenia may often feel out of touch with reality. 

The direct cause of schizophrenia remains unknown, but several factors can influence its development. Thankfully, therapy, rehab, and proper coping techniques can help people manage their schizophrenia. 

Before you can focus on managing schizophrenic symptoms, you must be able to recognize and discuss them with your doctor. 

Signs and Symptoms

The NIMH indicates that individuals are usually diagnosed with schizophrenia after an initial episode of psychosis, typically between the ages of 16 and 30. 

As with any mental health condition, symptoms vary depending on the person. According to the NIMH, schizophrenic symptoms are categorized into three categories: psychotic, negative, and cognitive. 

Psychotic Symptoms

Depending on the person, psychotic symptoms may differ and come and go. They include: 

  • Hallucinations – When you see, hear, or experience things that are not there. 
  • Delusions – Beliefs that are untrue, misleading, or irrational. 
  • Thought disorder – When you experience illogical ways of thinking or trouble organizing thoughts. 
  • Movement disorder – Causes abnormal, and sometimes repetitive, body movements 

Negative Symptoms

The NIMH describes negative symptoms as a loss of motivation and interest in enjoyable activities, isolating behaviors, and trouble showing emotions and functioning. Some negative symptoms to look out for include: 

  • Difficult planning and following through with activities
  • Trouble anticipating and feeling pleasure 
  • Isolating yourself and avoiding social interaction 
  • Lack of energy and potentially experiencing catatonia  

Cognitive Symptoms

The last category of symptoms the NIMH describes are cognitive, which include: 

  • Difficulty with decision-making and information processing 
  • Trouble retaining information right after learning it 
  • Problems with concentration

Recognizing these symptoms is vital. If you can not recognize the signs, you will be unable to discuss concerns with your doctor and receive a clinical diagnosis. It will also benefit you to understand how schizophrenia and genetics are connected and the risks of having a family history of schizophrenia. 

How Are Schizophrenia and Genetics Connected?

Essentially, the connection between schizophrenia and genetics creates a greater risk for individuals to develop it. Because several factors can influence the development of schizophrenia, it is necessary to understand what each of those factors may be and grasp their influence on your mental health.   

According to the NIMH, schizophrenia can run in families. While a family history does not mean you will experience it, it does increase your chances of developing it at some point in your life. Unfortunately, there is still so much we do not know about schizophrenia and genetics. 

Some research indicates that different genes can increase the likelihood of schizophrenia. However, we can not determine which gene, and determining the chances of developing schizophrenia is challenging without considering other factors. 

In addition to genes, environment, and brain function have a significant impact on your chances of developing schizophrenia. All of these things are connected. While there is no cure, schizophrenia is manageable with the proper tips, tricks, and treatments. 

Accepting Your Schizophrenia and Genetics, and Living Well

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) explains that the severity and frequency of psychotic episodes differ from person to person. However, in any case, schizophrenia can be managed through: 

  1. Medications that help manage symptoms 
  2. Therapy can offer you and your family guidance in managing your condition 
  3. Setting and focusing on treatment goals 
  4. Following treatment plans 
  5. Learning what your triggers are and how to recognize them 
  6. Prioritizing self-care 
  7. Practicing stress management techniques 
  8. Educating yourself as much as possible about schizophrenia 
  9. Learn more about potential services available to assist you with managing your condition 
  10. Consider locating and joining a support group meeting 

It can sometimes be a long road, but recovery from an intense mental health condition like schizophrenia is possible. Contact us at Alter Mental Health San Diego Crisis Intervention to seek treatment or learn more about schizophrenia and genetics today. 

Genetics typically plays a significant role in the development of a mental health condition. It can be unfortunate, but having a family history of mental illness, substance use disorders (SUD), or other health concerns can increase the likelihood of developing these conditions in your lifetime. That goes for schizophrenia as well. Schizophrenia and genetics are closely connected; a family history of schizophrenia can put you at a greater risk of developing it yourself. While symptoms vary in frequency and intensity depending on the person, schizophrenia is manageable with the proper treatments and coping techniques. Do not fear the connection between your schizophrenia and genetics. Contact Alter San Diego Crisis Intervention at (866) 986-1481 for treatment today.