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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 Diagnosis

There is no test that can make a schizophrenia diagnosis. People with schizophrenia usually come to the attention of a mental health professional after others see them acting strangely. Doctors make a diagnosis through interviews with the patient as well as with friends and family members. Psychiatrists have the most experience with diagnosing schizophrenia. A psychiatrist or other licensed mental health professional should be involved in making a schizophrenia diagnosis whenever possible. A schizophrenia...

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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.

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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