Monday, February 2, 2009

Identical Twins and Schizophrenia

Did you know that both identical twins usually do not develop schizophrenia. Schizophrenia, or any other mental illness, is not developed solely by genes alone, other factors contribute to its development. Identical twins prove this theory, one could develop schizophrenia and the other does not develop a mental illness, this is said to be discordant. Discordant illness in twins is more common than concordant, or both twins having a mental illness.

However, it is clear that bad parenting or a dysfunctional family is not one of the factors to develop schizophrenia. "Schizophrenia is caused by a genetic vulnerability coupled with environmental and psychosocial stressors, the so-called diathesis-stress model(". Complications prior to birth, or after birth, contribute to the likelihood of getting schizophrenia. Also, the underclass is more prone to developing schizophrenia than the upperclass, because the underclass is associated with more stresses.

"The twin studies showed that if one identical twin has schizophrenia, then there is a 30-50% chance that the other twin will have it as well. If a fraternal twin has schizophrenia, then there is a 15% chance that the other twin will have it as well. (This is the same percentage as any brother and sister)(".

In closing, the book, Divided Minds: Twin Sisters and Their Journey Through Schizophrenia, by Pamela Spiro Wagner and Carolyn S. Spiro, M.D., give an account of what it is like to be twins where one suffers from schizophrenia and the other does not. "Told in the alternating voices of the sisters, Divided Minds is a heartbreaking account of the far reaches of madness as well as the depths of ambivalence and love between twins. It is a true and unusually frank story of identical twins with very different identities and wildly different experiences of the world around them. It is one of the most compelling histories of two such siblings in the canon of writing on mental illness" ('+journey+through+schizophrenia&source=gbs_summary_s&cad=0).



Anonymous said...

hi.. no problem i followed ur blog cuz i think its cool!!!!
stay tuned into my blog for new posts =D

aries28 said...

Hey - I have stopped by before and I think your writings are geat and inspirational for others. To be so young and have to battle such a demon is so admirable. We all need to stick together to get through everything. Always check back with me, I like to keep up with everyone!

Kim said...

I have very few blogs in health category when I receive some more of these type I will make another category till then I will add your blog in

Take care and keep visiting :)

Laura said...

I'd like to know why some of those with schizophrenia are so functional despite their illness while others are totally debilitated.

Summer said...

Enviornment as so much to do with the way we turn out.... wow.

Ashley Smith said...

Great question Anonymous Drifter. I did some research and asked an expert from at

There are several factors that contribute to a person's wellness: consistent medication compliance, insight into one's illness, support from others, personality or determination, age, and the sooner you treat the illness.

You have inspired me to write a post about this, so keep your eye on my blog and you'll see additional information regarding your question.


Penny said...

Hi, Valesh! Your article about twins and schizophrenia was engrossing... It must be difficult to deal with...I remember about this illness because of the movie that singer, Diana Ross, played in where she portrayed a schizophrenic student dealing with it just at the end of her doctorate studies...Have you seen it? A haunting movie...I wish I could remember the title---oh! I do...It was called "Out of Darkness"... So very sad. Again, great, informative article.... Sweet Little Angel (Penny)

Ashley Smith said...

Penny Manning,

Yes, I have seen Out of Darkness, with Diana Ross. In fact I blogged about its showing a couple of weeks ago. It was a very good movie that protrayed schizophrenia.


O B S E S S I V I S I O N said...

Thank you for posting about this. I did grow up in a dysfunctional family (to some degree) and often wondered if my brother's schizophrenia could have been triggered by it. But much deeper than this is the mental illness history on my dad's side of the family. It is quite prevalent. I also, unfortunately, have a sister who has heard voices and has an anger problem. Funny thing is, she is very functional and also is number one in her company for pharmaceutical sales (out of 200 employees). I ALWAYS analyze why they were affected and not the three other siblings weren't. Trust me, I have my strange thoughts and wonder if I have a hint of something. I do have a strong connection with my brother because we are so sensitive in nature. I find myself wanting to shelter him for the world. Bottom line, I agree that it is the reoccurring stress that triggers an individual to develop schizophrenia not just one event. We all know that we can't eliminate stress, but check back at my blog in the future. I will be posting about David Lynch and his experience with TM (meditation) and children. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post. My sister in law's identical twin recently took her own life after struggling with schizophrenia, and I think your website will be an invaluable way for her to try and understand what her sister was going through as she works to put the pieces together. Thank you for sharing something so intimate.

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