Q: Is Schizophrenia Hereditary?
My father is from a very unstable family background- my paternal grandfather suffered from depression and paternal grandmother left the family home when my father was 15, and there were four younger siblings. I have two male first cousins who both have a diagnosis of schizophrenia. One is high functioning, i.e. he is a genius, married with two children, in his late thirties, on medication and also has OCD. The other is my age (23) and suffers from recurrent psychotic episodes with paranoid delusions and is currently living in sheltered accomodation. My father's brother (my paternal uncle) has always been called 'a recluse' (a term I detest) and my father recently disclosed that the same Uncle suffered from serious depression as an adolescent and possibly has undiagnosed schizophrenia. I worry about my own mental health, I often suffer from periods of depression (not anything that interferes with ADLs) and almost two years ago I was in a period of crisis (I had suicidal ideations and attempted same after being bullied by housemates) but have managed to come through that. I think I have some sort of Generalised Anxiety Disorder as I worry constantly about ridiculous things such as leaving two minutes later than normal for work and sometimes have obsessional thoughts about silly things, e.g. have I locked my front door. My older brother (also extremely intelligent) has a history of oppositional behaviour and I have vague memories of going to a family psychologist when I was young about his behaviour. Is it possible that there is a mental health illness travelling along our family line, and can you give me any insight into what I can do to monitor my own mental health/ that of my brothers?
Apologies for the essay!!
For anxiety, OCD and panic attacks, as well as schizophrenia, CBT that is cognitive behavior therapy: can help a person cope with his or her symptoms.
At the least if I were you I would talk to a therapist.
Schizophrenia and other mental illnesses do run in families.
I would suggest that right now you talk to a therapist, could be a cognitive behavior therapist, about your anxiety. The CBT therapist will give you homework assignments and techniques to use, even after the therapy ends, to cope better with your worry.
Find a CBT therapist At the Association for Cognitive and Behavior Therapy web site.
As for your brother, keep in contact with him and talk with him often and show him you love him. If he appears to have symptoms or be out of sorts in a way that prevents him from functioning, or is about to stop him from functioning, get help as soon as possible, even if that means you suggest you'll go with him to talk to someone like a counselor.
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