Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Can family members track their mental illness in the family

I just wanted to know if everyone can track mental illness in theirs or their mates family.Is it the same type of illness or one that would be similar.It would be interesting if these disorders that are love ones suffer are running in families or are new in the family


Our son has no family history of this illness, on either the paternal or maternal side. He just got really unlucky, out of the blue. We all did.


My husband was diagnosed with late onset schizoaffective disorder at 45. His Aunt on his mother’s side was diagnosed with late onset bi-polar at 43. My father was late onset paranoid schizophrenic at 40, but neither I or my brother and sister have the illness and we are all aged 50 and above. I am hoping my son does not end up with this disease!

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We were invited to help a professor with a research project at Cambridge (UK) University, looking at mental illness patterns in babies born prematurely, as our daughter was born 3 months premature. The professor was trying to establish a link between pure oxygen given to premature babies after birth causing damage to late developing parts of the brain, and increased rates of mental illness in later life, in those born prematurely.

During our time with the professor we asked about family history. He advised that all the research, his included, has shown that the reasons why somebody develops a mental illness is a complex mix of genetic, physical, psychological and environmental factors. Together, these factors cause some people to have a lower threshold to developing a mental illness, than others. The trigger for first episode will be some extra stress or emotional experience that is not abnormal in everyday life, but can also be caused intentionally, for example by taking a narcotic drug.


While not a “mental illness” we have autism on both sides of our family. My older son has autism, he is highly functional.

My husband had a maternal aunt with diagnosed schizophrenia, one of his maternal cousins suffered from severe bipolar.

I have written on this forum that I believed husband’s mother had scz, we discussed it again recently. Husband believes his mom had an antisocial personality disorder (his actual wording is that he is convinced she was a “psychopath” and he is serious. Her geriatric evaluation showed vascular dementia and an underlying psychiatric disorder. Husband says his mom was always a liar and did not have a conscience or any empathy. She was a nightmare of a mother - and since we didn’t understand she was ill, looking back, its sad.

I have two siblings with bipolar and my dad suffered from bipolar.


Lots of serious mental illness in my mother’s family.

It seems that a number of these mental illnesses are quite closely related:

Autism Shares Brain Signature with Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder



There is a family history for us as well. Paternal Grandfather had it and Paternal Aunt has late-onset sz. My son developed the condition at 21.

No history of schizophrenia in my famiky however we did have anxiety

I myself have been diagnosed with clinical depression My husband has an assessment of borderline and bio-polar disorder and he refuses any kind of medication.

No one that we know of. Definitely not diagnosed.

My son s dad was adopted so I don’t know his history, but he definitely was always acting manic and medicated himself with alcohol, which he still does. He is 64 now and can t work and is usually drunk most of the day, every day. My sister is bi polar, and all of my family seems to have anxiety, but nothing that makes us unfunctionable. My son is the first to have sz, but who knows about his dad s family.

After my son was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder in 2003, I began tracking mental illness on both maternal and paternal sides. On my son’s maternal side, there are the following disorders: bipolar, schizophrenia and Asperger’s. On my son’s paternal side, there is bipolar disorder.

In my paranoid sz’s family there was a brother with sz and an uncle w bipolar. I think there were a few more on his mom’s side. The brother and uncle I knew personally. Both were great people. The uncle was a talented artist.