What Increases Your Risk
You are at higher risk for developing schizophrenia
- Have a mother, father, or sibling with
schizophrenia (genetic predisposition). However, having a relative with schizophrenia does not mean
you will develop this disorder; many people have schizophrenia who do not
have a relative with this condition, and many people who have relatives with
schizophrenia will not develop this condition.
- Have another disorder
that is like schizophrenia (such as schizotypal personality) or have
family members with such a condition.
- Had a brain injury during fetal development,
or complications at the time of birth (such as a lack of oxygen).
- Had a childhood head injury, especially if you
have a family history of schizophrenia.
- Were exposed to a viral
infection, malnutrition, or medications (diuretics)
used to control a mother's high
blood pressure prior to birth.
- Were born during winter. People born during
winter have a slightly higher chance of developing schizophrenia than people
born at other times of the year. One explanation for this is that people
born during the winter months may have been exposed to a viral infection
during the last part of their mother's pregnancy.
- Have a substance
It is not yet clear whether the abuse triggers schizophrenia or whether a
person with schizophrenia is more likely to have a substance abuse problem.
- Have a father who was over age 50 when you
It is not yet clear why the age of the father may put you at higher risk;
research is ongoing to better understand and prove this risk factor.
Symptoms of schizophrenia
are divided into two groups: positive and negative. Positive symptoms refer to
traits that are "added" to your personality and include a combination
of disordered thinking (cognitive
impairment) and psychotic
symptoms (such as hallucinations).
Negative symptoms are capabilities or aspects of your personality that are
"lost" with schizophrenia (such as lack of emotion or expression) and
usually develop first.
Negative symptoms include:
- Inability to experience pleasure. This is a
common symptom in schizophrenia and includes difficulty enjoying activities
that once brought pleasure, such as playing golf or visiting with friends.
- Lack of emotion. This can lead to few
friendships or social contacts. Showing little facial expression, having
poor eye contact, and slowed speech are characteristic.
- Loss of motivation to succeed or accomplish
goals. Job or school performance problems are common and usually due to an
inability to complete tasks or goals.
- Problems focusing or paying attention,
difficulty processing information, confusion, and fragmented thoughts.
Symptoms of schizophrenia
usually emerge in the late teens to mid-20s for men and the late 20s to 30s for
The symptoms may either appear suddenly or evolve gradually. Men tend to have
more severe symptoms and a more difficult time with the effects of schizophrenia
There are three phases of disease progression:
prodromal, active, and residual.
symptoms (such as lack of emotion or motivation), which may appear
suddenly or slowly over time
- Social withdrawal
- Poor hygiene, such as wearing dirty clothes or
- Loss of interest in school or work
- Outbursts of anger
- Unusual or out-of-character behavior
- Confusion or confused speech
- Terror or unreasonable fear of something or
Source: WebMD and SAMHSA
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