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Living a Full Life with Schizophrenia

Causes of Schizophrenia

Causes of Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia, because it is a mental disorder, is not easy to pinpoint specific causes. Experts have found that the two most common causes are genetics and environment. Schizophrenia running in families has been a known fact for a long time, but each case is very different which means not all people that are schizophrenic get it through genetics. This is where experts have found environment has come in to play. In this article we will look at the top 2 causes of schizophrenia; genetics and environment.


Even though this may not be true for every case, reports of it being genetic are profound. Therefore if someone in your family has been diagnosed with Schizophrenia you would be put at a higher risk than someone who does not have schizophrenia diagnosed in there family.

This chart shows the percentage of risk someone who has a schizophrenic relative.

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A group called the Schizophrenia Working Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium recently did a study involving over 140,000 people. This specific study was done to answer the question of whether or not schizophrenia is caused by genetics. The answer that was found was yes. The study compared both people that have schizophrenia and people that don’t.

The result of this study showed:

“128 gene variants associated with schizophrenia, in 108 distinct locations in the human genome. The vast majority of them had never before been linked to the disorder. This finding lays to rest any argument that genetics plays no role.”

Still this didn’t answer exactly how genetics are a factor in schizophrenia diagnosis. Another study was done on September 15, 2014 by the Washington University School of Medicine that instead of focusing on specific genes they “broadened their view” and focused more on gene clusters. Again two groups were studied, those diagnosed with schizophrenia and those not diagnosed. The study grouped symptoms with genetics which allowed them to come to many different conclusions. For example speech patterns and disorganized behaviors were linked with specific DNA groups that showed a link to schizophrenia as 100 perfect.


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Those that did not get schizophrenia through genetics most likely had factors in their environment that triggered the disorder. There are certain inherited genes that can make someone vulnerable to schizophrenia. Environments can trigger these vulnerabilities which then causes the disorder.

Environmental Causes include:

  • High levels of stress during pregnancy
  • Malnutrition before birth
  • Abuse during childhood (physical and sexual)
  • Heavy use of marijuana during adolescent years
  • Substance misuse
    • the most popular are alcohol and marijuana
  • Early exposure to a virus

Many environmental causes that occur at a young age can result in schizophrenia. Another large environmental cause is stress. Usually a traumatic event such as a loss of a job, family member, or house can cause a schizophrenic episode. Repeated stress can then cause more episodes and result in a diagnosis. Another factor that can cause schizophrenia is where you live. Studies show that those born into an urban area are at a higher risk than those born into a rural area.

In conclusion, where you live and events that occur early in life are both big parts. Genetic factors such as having a relative that is diagnosed with schizophrenia can be a cause of being diagnosed with schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a disorder that does not have specific causes because of the many different cases. Through research experts have found that that the both genetic and environmental factors are the leading cause to schizophrenia.


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