A Serious Mental Disease
             By: Alisa Avdyllari and Ally Rott

        Schizophrenia is a severe brain disorder in which people interpret reality abnormally. Schizophrenia may result in some combination of hallucinations, delusions, and extremely disordered thinking and behavior.

Myth: If you have a schizophrenic parent, then you ,too, will develop this disorder.

Truth: This is not strictly true. Yes, having a parent with schizophrenia will increase your chances of becoming schizophrenic, but that does not mean that you will develop the disease.

Fact:Schizophrenia is a genetic disease. It occurs in 1% of the general population(2.2 million Americans).

Fact: People who have a relative with the disease, such as a sibling or parent may have a higher risk of getting Schizophrenia.

Fact: Scientists think interactions between genes and the environment are necessary for schizophrenia to develop. Many environmental factors may be involved, such as exposure to viruses or malnutrition before birth.

Fact: Scientists believe several genes are associated with an increased risk of schizophrenia, but that no gene causes the disease by itself. In fact, recent research has found that people with schizophrenia tend to have higher rates of rare genetic mutations. These genetic differences involve hundreds of different genes and probably disrupt brain development.

                                                  Fun Facts

  • There are 3 types of symptoms that come with schizophrenia: positive(ex. hallucinations, delusions), negative (ex. "flat affect", finding lack of happiness in everyday life), and cognitive (ex. trouble focusing, memory problems).
  • Nicotine is the most common form of substance abuse in people with schizophrenia. Scizophrenics are addicted to this three times more than the general public.
  • Schizophrenia typically appears when a person is in his or her teens to early 20s.

  • About 10% of people with schizophrenia commit suicide and are more likely to have a drug or alcohol abuse problem.

Relative risk for developing the condition(%)        Schizophrenia   Bipolar  

No close relative (general population risk)                  1                      2-3               Identical twin (monozygotic)                                     40-50                    70                        Both parents                                                                 45                       50             Brother/sister and one parent                                     15                       20                  Parent                                                                            13                       15                      Non-identical twin (dizygotic)                                     10                       20       Brother/sister                                                                9                        13                  Second-degree relative                                                3                         5                      First cousin                                                                  1-2                      2-3


Unfortunately, the technology to treat schizophrenia does not yet exist, and doctors are only able to treat the symptoms of schizophrenia with psychiatric sessions and medicines such as Thorazine, Haldol, and Trilafon.

Chicago-Read Mental Health Center Dealing with Schizophrenia Patients

Living with Schizophrenia: January(Jani) Schofield