Is Schizophrenia Always Genetic?

Jan 02, 2024
 Is Schizophrenia Always Genetic?
Schizophrenia is a chronic mental health disorder that requires ongoing treatment to manage symptoms and improve the quality of your life. Read on to learn about potential causes of schizophrenia, including the role your genes might play.

Less than 2% of the United States population is diagnosed with schizophrenia. While the condition is uncommon, its effects can be profound. Fortunately, medical treatment and counseling can manage symptoms and improve quality of life. 

While our understanding of schizophrenia has improved vastly over the past decades, medical researchers are still learning about the condition. The good news is that increased knowledge drives improvements in treatment.

A common question people have about schizophrenia is whether a genetic component is involved. In this post, our team at The Marcann Group answers questions and provides an overview of schizophrenia’s symptoms and treatment options.

Facts about schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a mental health disorder characterized by changes in how you perceive the world around you. Many people with schizophrenia have symptoms that affect how they think, feel, and react. Some common symptoms include the following:

  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Lack of joy or pleasure
  • Chaotic or disordered thoughts
  • Lack of speech or vocalization

Symptoms can range from mild to severe and can change dramatically over time. 

There is no cure for schizophrenia, but there are treatments that can help manage its symptoms. Medications increase specific chemicals in the brain that help organize nerve signaling used in thought patterns, mood, and behavior. Psychotherapy identifies negative or “untrue” thought patterns and behaviors that can worsen your symptoms.

Because schizophrenia is a chronic disorder, you need to follow your treatment plan consistently to keep your symptoms under control. Ongoing checkups with our team ensure your treatment plan remains effective and optimized as your needs change.

Schizophrenia and your genes

Many people wonder if they have schizophrenia because they inherited it via their genes. Interestingly, some studies have found a genetic component to schizophrenia. Specifically, data shows the risk of schizophrenia is increased when both parents have the disorder. Twin studies also confirm a genetic connection.

Research also shows defects in specific genes can contribute to disruptions in chemical production and signaling in the brain. While this factor is also gene-dependent, it’s not necessarily inherited. Instead, it may occur as a result of other factors, including environmental exposures that act on the genes.

In fact, most researchers believe schizophrenia involves environmental factors as well as genetics. During pregnancy, exposure to toxins and poor nutrition may also play a role, along with complications. Interestingly, winter births and living in a city are also associated with increased incidence of schizophrenia.

In addition to genetics and environmental factors, studies have found that people with schizophrenia have differences in their brain structure. Specifically, schizophrenia is associated with a reduction in gray matter in multiple areas of the brain, contributing to changes in thinking, memory, and perception.

We can help manage schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a complex mental health disorder. It’s also a leading cause of disability around the world, taking a toll on every aspect of a person’s life and well-being. While genetics often play a role, other factors contribute, too. 

Seeking treatment and sticking with a management plan are essential in managing symptoms and enjoying a healthier and more productive life. To learn how we can help manage your schizophrenia symptoms, book an appointment online or over the phone with the team at The Marcann Group in Glendale, Phoenix, and Sun City West, Arizona, today.