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Is schizophrenia contagious?

Douglas E. Severance, MD
Family Medicine
Schizophrenia is not contagious in the way that a cold or flu is contagious. However, it does run in families. You cannot "catch" schizophrenia from someone, but if your close relative has the illness, then you have a higher chance of developing schizophrenia than the average person. The reason for this is that schizophrenia is partly caused by our genetic makeup. This means that the genes we inherit from our parents might put us at a higher risk for schizophrenia if other family members have the illness. However, we do not know exactly how our genes cause schizophrenia, and why some relatives get sick with it but others do not. Scientists wonder if experiences when we are in our mother's womb, like viruses or malnutrition, might affect our brains, causing schizophrenia. More research needs to be done to understand exactly how genes and our environment interact to cause schizophrenia.

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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.