Schizophrenia in birth family

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Is Schizophrenia Inherited?

Schizophrenia is one of the most serious and disabling mental illnesses. It is associated with disturbances in the way an individual thinks, perceives, feels, and relates to others. Genes and environment both contribute to its development.

No specific genes have yet been identified that lead to the development of schizophrenia, but a number of gene regions on a few chromosomes have. When neither parent, and no close relatives, have the condition, risk is about one percent; when one parent has the disorder, 13 percent; when both parents have the disorder, 46 percent. However, genes themselves do not guarantee development of the disorder. Nearly 90 percent of people with schizophrenia have neither parent who is affected; a sizable majority (63 percent) have no affected first- or second-degree relatives.

Studies have shown that adopted children born to a parent with schizophrenia do develop schizophrenia as adults at rates considerably higher than the one-percent rate in the general population.

No specific environmental influence by itself has been identified as a significant risk factor, but some "toxic" factors would include demoralizing or threatening physical environments, emotionally demanding experiences, emotional understimulation, and chronic disruptions to attention or information processing.

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