A new study shows that genetic counselling helps patients with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and similar conditions understand and cope with their illness.

The paper is published today in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

The study is among the first to show the value of genetic counselling for psychiatric illnesses, demonstrating that it can help patients understand the cause of their illness, the genetic component and how they can protect their mental health going forward.

“Traditionally genetic counselling is applied to conditions that are caused entirely by genes like Huntington’s disease,” said Dr. Jehannine Austin, an investigator at the Child & Family Research Institute at BC Children's Hospital; a Canada Research Chair in Translational Psychiatric genomics; and associate professor at the University of British Columbia. “Psychiatric disorders arise because of a combination of genes and experience and our study shows that genetic counselling is just as valuable for these patients.”

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UBC media release: Study shows genetic counselling helps psychiatric patients