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Schizophrenia - What Increases Your Risk

Schizophrenia is a complex illness. Experts don't know what causes it or why some people get it and others don't. But some things increase your chances of getting it. These are called risk factors.

You may be at risk for schizophrenia if:

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Schizophrenia and Relationships

Penny Frese, PhD, was studying fine arts at Ohio University when she met her future husband. They saw each other for several months, and she noticed he avoided talking about anything personal. "We took a walk in a park, and it was toward the end of summer -- a gorgeous, beautiful day. I confronted him about not being totally honest … and he said he had had a 'schizophrenic break.'" For some couples, that might have been the end. Frese went to the library and read up on schizophrenia. She learned...

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  • Your mother, father, brother, or sister has schizophrenia.
  • Your mother had certain problems while she was pregnant with you. For example, if your mother didn't get enough to eat (malnutrition), had a viral infection, or took certain medicines for high blood pressure, you may be at increased risk.
  • You or a family member have another disorder that is like schizophrenia. An example of this is a delusional disorder, which means you believe things that you know are false.
  • You have a problem with alcohol or drugs. Experts don't know whether substance abuse triggers schizophrenia or whether schizophrenia makes a person more likely to have this problem.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: August 31, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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