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A 48-year-old member asked:

my sister-in-law says she has psychiatric problems. are other family members more likely to get the same thing?

3 doctor answers12 doctors weighed in
Dr. Marci Dietrich
Bariatrics 41 years experience
Psych sister-in-law: Hi, i don't know what your sister-in-law's diagnosis is, but i can say that she is open, reaching out to her family.If she has the urge to discuss this situation, please listen and support her.Is she seeking help-treatment for her psych problems?Is she a threat to herself or others? The immediate problem is not the transmissability of her disorder-but is she o-k.?If not, call psych intervent asap.
Dr. Laura Davies
Psychiatry 24 years experience
Unclear: Many psychiatric illnesses have a genetic component to them, so that people who are related by blood to her could be at elevated risk, depending on her illness. Just because there is a genetic risk does not mean that her relatives will necessarily become ill, since illness depends on many factors.
Dr. Alan Koenigsberg
Psychiatry 42 years experience
depends: Most psychiatric disorders have a genetic, biological, or inherited component to them. That means that direct blood relatives may be at a higher risk of getting ill, very similar to general medical illnesses that have a genetic tendency to them. They are not contagious. It also depends on many other factors--what specifically is the illness? Some have stronger genetic tendencies than others.

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Last updated Dec 20, 2013
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