While the cause of schizophrenia is not actually known, research has led doctors to certain risk factors and possible triggers of the disorder. According to the Mayo Clinic, these links are often a combination of genetic makeup, brain chemistry, and a person’s environment.
Scientists have found differences in the biology and construction of the brains of those with and without schizophrenia. Researchers are not exactly sure why or how these variations occur, or even how significant they are, but the findings have led doctors to believe that schizophrenia is, in fact, a brain disease. The brains of those who have schizophrenia show an inability to transport messages throughout the brain due to problems with dopamine and glutamate, two naturally occurring chemicals called neurotransmitters.
Some of the triggers that cause symptoms of schizophrenia to occur include a family history of schizophrenia, certain complications from pregnancy and birth, having a father who is of older age than average, immune system issues stemming from inflammation or autoimmune disorders, and the use of psychoactive or psychotropic drugs during one’s lifetime.
Though genetics do play a role in the probable causes of schizophrenia, doctors do not believe that any one gene is the cause of the disorder. Additionally, just because schizophrenia tends to run in families does not mean that you will be diagnosed if someone in your family has it. In fact, most people who have a parent with schizophrenia do not end up having the disorder themselves.
Keep in mind that having one or even a few of these risk factors does not mean that you will develop the disorder. Simply be aware of your risk as you continue to live your day-to-day life, being sensitive and attentive to symptoms should they begin to occur.
If you have one or more of these risk factors and you are experiencing symptoms of schizophrenia, don’t be afraid. We’re here to help. Reach out to us below and take back control of your mental health and your life.