Fear of becoming schizophrenic

This is a vulnerable topic for me.

Schizophrenia is both environmentally and genetically determined, as we know. I have a brother with schizoaffective and a mother with undiagnosed psychosis (possibly brought on by a sleeping medication, PTSD, or who knows what else!)

Has anyone else found themselves afraid of becoming schizophrenic or psychotic? I’m sometimes completely unworried, and sometimes concerned, about my own long-term mental health.

My mom didn’t have her psychotic break until her late 40’s… I’m 30 now. It’s hard not to be afraid that something unexpected will happen to me, or that I’ll someday “lose it.”

Has anyone else dealt with similar fears? If so, how have you worked with, or through, the anxiety?

Are there health steps we should be taking to ensure our own long term health? (I just started working out, quit smoking, and have been developing a healthier diet for the past few years.)

Would love to hear your thoughts!


I understand the anxiety you have. On the maternal side of my family several relatives had schizophrenia: my grandfather, my uncle, and my cousin. My cousin had children and her boys are displaying “unusual behavior”. My brother has severe paranoid schizophrenia. My mother was never diagnosed but suffered from extremely labile moods, erratic behavior and alcoholism.

Schizophrenia has been a curse my entire life. I feared that I would get it and I feared that if I had children I would pass this nightmare onto another generation. I made the decision not to have children because of the genetic loading for schizophrenia in my family.

I have always been concerned that I will develop psychotic symptoms. Over the years I have had a “clean” lifestyle - no alcohol, no smoking, no drugs, ate healthy. I can’t control the genetic part but at least I can keep myself healthy.

I went for help for stress relief - stress is a huge factor in eroding mental and physical health. I was stressed from worrying about my future. I was also getting so stressed from my brother that I was getting anxiety and panic attacks. A counselor once told me to stop dwelling on “what if” and worrying about the future and to live in the moment. I am still working on that part - “living in the moment”. I find that challenging being a caregiver to a person with schizophenia.


Thank you so much for sharing; it helps to know I’m not alone. I also decided not to have kids for the same reason.

Thank you also for the note on reducing stress; I’m going to put that at the forefront and work on taking care of myself physically and mentally - taking space from the things that bring on too much anxiety.

My mom was always chronically stressed, couldn’t let go of her stress, and I always held a value of (typically) being relaxed and laid back… At some point (recently) I lost sight of that, and it sounds like it’s time for me to work on bringing that attitude back.

I appreciate you sharing so openly and vulnerably; it means a lot to see others grappling with and working to overcome the same thing! :heart:


Hi. I had an Aunt who was diagnosed, schizophrenic. I think she had a troubled relationship with her mother and also a heartbreak in her early 20’s. The family was quite strict. I don’t believe other family members suffered particularly adversely. I don’t see a genetic connection (there is certainly no definitive evidence for Mental health conditions being passed through families). I would say it has more to do with environment, relations, attachments. I think if you have healthy connections with healthy people you will unlikely suffer from psychosis.


I just did a quick search for SZ heritability. This article is one of the many I found. I think if this gene is responsible, the illness would be more likely to appear in adolescence or young adulthood.

Since there’s nothing you can do to control it, I’d say just move on to things you can do something about.


I saw the same article but wasn’t sure exactly how to interpret it; I also wonder about the role epigentics might play on C6/C4. In any case, I think the advice not to worry is sound!

I’m working with a therapist now; one of my goals is to bring my anxiety back to my baseline (or better!)

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I have the same fear for my children. My brother has paranoid schizophrenia, diagnosed at age 22.
He is now 58 and I am 60. I do not have schizophrenia. I have 2 children. A girl who is 29, who so far is fine. I have a boy who is 26 and so far is fine. I know that both of them have not yet aged out of the possibility of getting the disease. For my son, he is past the typical age of onset but not really out of the woods yet. For my daughter she is probably not yet out of the typical age of onset either.
I realize this is out of my control, but because of the hell of a life my brother has had, it would be devastating to have children that have to suffer the same bad luck.


My mom too was diagnosed when she was 40. Me too used to have the same concerns about me and my brother. I’m 37 now and I take antidepressants but I’m not anymore concerned about getting schizophrenic. This is not because I think I’m spared but rather because being concerned doesn’t help. Yet I’m happy I don’t have children who might suffer someday from schizophrenia itself or because of taking care of a schizophrenic parent.


I believe that inferior self care contributed to my daughter’s schizophrenia. There is no history of severe mental illness in our family for the last 4 generations. I don’t know if her schizophrenia was CAUSED by sleep deprivation and starving herself down to skin and bones, but people without sleep or food can get delusional from that alone. She was working long hours, staying awake during her sleep time almost every night, skipping eating altogether many meals, doing nothing pleasurable, grieving for her father who passed after a car accident, denying friends, denying time with me, becoming very self-centered. Then when she started hearing voices, she started talking to them and never told anyone until she could never stop them and others started noticing and being shocked by how she explained her behaviour.

Taking GOOD care of one’s eating / sleeping / recreation habits may or may not help the possibility of dementia or severe mental illness, but it certainly can’t hurt. I have recently decided to lose weight (45 lbs so far) start eating ONLY healthy foods cutting out all junk, going to the gym, going to church, doing some fun hobbies, etc. to hopefully avoid any type of dementia, cancer, or severe illnesses in the future that I can avoid.


Don’t you fear. I’m schizophrenic and so is my mum and my father had lewie.body dementia but my brother surely has not got any kind of mental issues.


Thank you for the reminder to not fear! The emotion of fear can rule one’s outlook, best to try to ignore fear and find some hope instead! Hope of good mental and physical health can lead us to finding improvements.

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