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3 Must-Know Risk Factors for Schizophrenia

3 Must-Know Risk Factors for Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a brain disorder that can cause a variety of symptoms in different people. Typically, it causes your brain to distort and misinterpret reality resulting in hallucinations, delusions, and disordered thinking and behaviors. All of these things can severely impact your day-to-day life.

At her practice in Newport Beach, California, Venice Sanchez, MD, and the rest of our team want you to know what puts you at risk for schizophrenia. In this blog, we explore what increases your odds of developing schizophrenia and when it’s time to seek treatment.

Common risk factors for schizophrenia

While it’s impossible to predict who develops schizophrenia, experts believe many different factors can significantly increase your risk for it. Identifying with these factors doesn’t mean you are going to develop schizophrenia, but knowing if you have a predisposition for it may be helpful.

1. Genetics

The biggest and most studied risk factor for schizophrenia is genetics. If you have a family history of schizophrenia, you’re much more likely to develop it yourself. Research shows that 10-14% of people living with schizophrenia also have a family member who has the illness.

While genetics play one component, your birth, development, and environment play a large role too. 

2. Birth and development

If you were born prematurely, had a low weight at birth, or had complications during your birth such as delivery via emergency cesarean section, your risk of schizophrenia increases.

In addition, if your birthing parent had conditions such as gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, malnutrition, or a vitamin D deficiency while you were in utero, you may have an increased risk of schizophrenia.

2. Environment

Certain environmental factors can influence your risk for schizophrenia. There are some illnesses and autoimmune disorders that cause your body’s immune system to start attacking itself which can increase your risk. Your risk is also increased by exposure to toxins such as lead.

Other stressful factors such as living in poverty, being emotionally neglected, or experiencing family violence or trauma can also increase your risk, as does having cannabis use disorder or using cannabis in high amounts at an early age.

When to seek treatment

If you’ve been struggling with at least two symptoms of schizophrenia for over a month, you may need to be evaluated for it, especially if you identify with some of the risk factors. 

To be diagnosed and treated for schizophrenia, don’t hesitate to come in and see our caring and compassionate team. We can help you decide what treatment plan works best for you, including medications and strategies for managing your symptoms.

You can schedule an appointment with us by calling our office or booking online today.


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