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What causes paranoid schizophrenia?

Like other types of schizophrenia, doctors aren't exactly sure what causes paranoid schizophrenia. They believe the disorder is a result of a problem with the brain and the way it communicates with the rest of the body. However, doctors aren't sure of exactly what causes this problem with the brain. Some research has suggested it is due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors, and other complications such as birth defects.

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

Experts wish they could answer this question as decisively as a two-year-old tells you his name, but no one knows yet what specifically causes schizophrenia or why some people get it and others do not. Scientists believe that paranoid schizophrenia shares the same cause as other subtypes of schizophrenia. Despite not knowing specific causes, there are risk factors that can increase the likelihood that you will develop schizophrenia. For example, if a parent or sibling has schizophrenia or a delusional disorder, you have a higher risk. Research indicates that if your mother was malnourished, had a viral infection, or took certain types of medicines while she was pregnant with you, you may have a higher risk as well. Finally, researchers have theories that your brain’s messengers (neurotransmitters) do not work properly in people with schizophrenia, which may cause them to develop the disorder. Keep in mind, though, that just because you have a higher risk of developing schizophrenia does not guarantee you actually will.

Douglas E. Severance, MD
Family Medicine
The cause of paranoid schizophrenia is a disorder in the brain. It is most often linked to family history and environmental factors. Other conditions, such as long-term stress, can contribute to the development of paranoid schizophrenia. Talk to your doctor about any family history or risk factors you may have.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.