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Who is at risk for childhood schizophrenia?

Douglas E. Severance, MD
Family Medicine
One of the biggest risks for childhood schizophrenia is having a family history of the disease. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, childhood schizophrenia is very rare, and appears to develop in only 1% of people who have been diagnosed schizophrenia. Aside from having a family history of the disease, scientists are still unsure why some people develop schizophrenia but not others. The Mayo Clinic lists the following factors as possibly increasing one's risk of developing schizophrenia:

• Drug use during the teenage years
• Having a father that is older than average
• Experiencing trauma, abuse, or severe stress during childhood
• Being malnourished or exposed to certain viruses while in the womb

The National Institute of Mental Health reports that a risk for developing schizophrenia exists for 1 out of every 100 people. If a parent or sibling has the disease, then a person has a 10% chance of developing schizophrenia. When an identical twin is diagnosed with schizophrenia, that risk goes up to about 50%.

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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.