Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Genetic Testing to see if your children are at risk for developing late-onset schizophrenia

We recently had to leave my children’s father for the second time because for the past two years he has been exhibiting symptoms of late-onset schizophrenia. My children’s paternal great aunt has already been diagnosed with the condition a few years back. I don’t know of anyone else in my children’s father’s family who may have had this condition, but their family is the type where people either never got help and / or tried to keep quiet about it because of the stigma or lack of education about the condition or lack of access to psychiatric help in past generations. Their father has only recently begun to see mental health professionals for help with his problems and is far from being diagnosed with anything at this stage, and I realize it is the qualified, licensed mental health professionals who need to have the last word on the cause of my children’s dad’s problems. All I know is that his behavior has escalated to the point of being dangerous for the second time in two years since we tried getting back together and I had to flee with the kids again. It’s heartbreaking because I still love their Dad and at times he seems back to his normal self, where at other times I find him cycling back into a pattern of delusional thinking and behaviors that have become increasingly more accusatory, suspicious, paranoid, and aggressive. His delusions have often centered around me ‘cheating on him for drugs’ and have compelled him to leave voice activated tape recorders in the house or use baby monitors to eavesdrop on my activities, which is ridiculous because there is nothing bad or untoward going on and nothing worth tape recording. I’ve never been unfaithful to him, and I would never use illegal drugs or have anything to do with the kinds of people who sell them. Alcohol and marijuana seem to exacerbate his symptoms, to the point where he attacked me several nights ago and would only back off when I gave him fake names and information to satisfy his ‘interrogation’ tactics regarding my imaginary, fictitious ‘infidelity’ and ‘secret drug habit’. When I worry that my life is in danger, that’s when it’s time to hit the road and get out of there with the kids (this time while he was sleeping). Last year, he had a loaded gun in the house and was drinking wine coolers on a regular basis while going on rants about the ‘strange people’ I was inviting into the house to cheat on him with… This time it escalated to strange people in the house (some of the same people from last time plus their friends), having sex with strange men in our bed for drugs, etc. So we left-again.

I think my children’s Dad’s family may be in denial, or maybe they know what it could be and are scared to death of it. I’m just glad I’m 100 miles away with the kids while the Dad endeavors to get some professional help with his problems.

If my children’s Dad is diagnosed with late onset schizophrenia, what genetic testing options are out there to see if my kids have the genes that predispose them to it or if they are carriers?

Thanks for listening,

Just want the father of my kids to be normal and I miss the real him (his Aunt’s Late-Onset Schizophrenia symptoms didn’t start until she was 35 or older either…)

There is a specific Gene, but it hasn’t been identified yet. The frontal lobe in most cases has less blood flow than normal. If you end up looking for it early diagnosis yearns a higher recover rate, but don’t be so sure to jump on it, or the medications could end up being dangerous. Even if the “SZ Gene” is present it takes certain experiences and environments to create the trigger. Don’t base your ideals of your children on their fathers illness. Be prepared not scared, even if they do show signs their is a top tier chance the symptoms will turn out nothing like their fathers and you will have positive relationships with them :slight_smile: Don’t let your worries consume your hopes. Plan for the future, Learn from the past, and live in the present. Good luck and God bless

No - the most recent large study identified 108 different genes associated with schizophrenia. They are a long way from being able to do genetic testing to guage the risk of schizophrenia in children.

Yes - “We now have more than 100 genes pointing to distinct pathways – calcium channels, glutamate, the immune system – this is concrete stuff, and it means that the pharmaceutical companies who left [this area of drug development] because they didn’t have anything concrete to work on, are beginning to get their toes in the water, and are thinking of jumping back in the water,” says Lander.

I’m on your team SzAdmin

There’s a link on the front page of this website about prevention.

I’m extremely late to this, but wanted to say how sorry I was. I hope that things are starting to improve for your family.

I want to throw something toward the discussion about genetic testing. My 7 year old has 2 genetic abnormalities. We found out when she was around 3, due to speech delays & developmental delays. One of her genetic abnormalities puts her at an increased risk for Schizophrenia, as well as other things. Through talking to the geneticist I learned that being at an increased risk does not mean that you will definitely get it - it just means that she could possibly get it, & has a greater risk compared to the general population. It’s something to keep in the back of my mind in case I start seeing odd behaviors, but I won’t be too quick to jump to conclusions either because of a bad experience I had with a psychiatrist & my oldest daughter.

She was referred to the Parish Mental Health Unit by her school, for evaluation due to behavior problems in kindergarten. The psychiatrist was very concerned about her imaginary friends, & tried to convince me that she was depressed & possibly schizophrenic. I grabbed her by the hand & walked out of there, never to return. We saw a child psychologist for a neuro psych eval, & she was found to have ADHD, dyslexia, & they felt that was the cause of her behavior problems - no depression & definitely not Schizophrenic (just had a healthy imagination). I started behavior modification therapy, & she was a different child. She graduated with Honors, & is still getting straight A’s in college as an Engineering major.

I truly hope that things are calming down, & the Dad is doing better.