The exact causes of schizophrenia are not known but scientists have determined that this condition does run in families and it typically genetic or hereditary in scope. Approximately one percent of the total population will suffer from schizophrenia and an estimated ten percent of those who have a mother, father, brother or sister with schizophrenia will also exhibit symptoms of this psychotic disorder. While a secondary hereditary influence can also increase the risk of schizophrenia such as if an Aunt or Uncle has the condition there are no definitive figures or percentages for the genetic risks of such transmission through families.
Scientists have worked very hard to determine what causes schizophrenia in an effort to be able to prevent the condition in those who are at risk and recognize the factors that can influence that risk. Unfortunately, no exact cause of schizophrenia has yet been determined which makes prevention impossible and reactive treatment that only real option for help.
The highest risk for schizophrenia is associated to those who have an identical twin who has already been diagnosed with the disease. There is a 40-65% higher risk for these individuals to be diagnosed with schizophrenia than in those who are not twins or do not have a family history of schizophrenia.
By studying people who have already been diagnosed with schizophrenia, scientists have found that people with this condition have a higher rate of certain genetic mutations which may be at the root cause of the disorder. Unfortunately, many more studies and extensive research must be done in order to completely narrow down the various genes, mutations and disruption in brain development that is responsible for causing schizophrenia in some people.
There are a number of tests on the market today that claim to be able to determine the presence of certain genes that make an individual at risk of various disorders and conditions including schizophrenia. Scientists have not yet determined all of the gene variations that are responsible or which could be responsible for causing schizophrenia so these tests are most inconclusive or can only provide a small glimpse into a very vast picture of the genetic makeup of an individual.
Research suggests that there is more to schizophrenia than a simple genetic variation or mutation and that there may be other environmental factors or outside factors involved in causing schizophrenia. There is evidence to support a possible increased risk in developing schizophrenia if an individual is involved in chronic marijuana use as a teen, if an individual did not receive adequate nutrition while in utero or if an individual is subjected to certain conditions of substance abuse.
Additional studies will continue to be performed by scientists who hope to one day figure out what causes schizophrenia but for now, the exact causes of this disorder remain unknown. Many believe it’s in the genes while others believe that alterations in brain chemistry and structure are to blame. Still others believe that environmental factors such as substance abuse or other outside conditions are the real cause of schizophrenia. This all leaves much to be desired for those who are diagnosed with the disorder and for the family members and loved ones who are considered at risk of a similar diagnosis.