Schizophrenia Prognosis

A diagnosis of schizophrenia can feel like the end of the world. It is a very serious psychiatric illness, and for the majority of schizophrenics, there will be some symptoms of the disorder off and on throughout their lifetime. But that doesn’t mean life is over, so to speak.

Many individuals who have been diagnosed with schizophrenia are able to function well and lead productive lives. And with advances in research and improvements in medications over the years, the outlook is much better than it once was. And it should continue to improve as we learn more about this complex disorder.

Factors Which Lend Towards a Good Prognosis

While some schizophrenics spend their entire lives in and out of treatment facilities or living as a homeless person on the streets, that isn’t the future for most schizophrenics. There are several things which factor into a good prognosis for this disorder:

  • A diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia versus one of the other subtypes; this subtype tends to respond better to treatment and paranoid schizophrenics usually have an overall higher level of functioning than other subtypes;
  • Being a female – women typically have a later onset and also tend to respond better to neuroleptics;
  • Having fewer negative symptoms;
  • No family history of schizophrenia;
  • High level of functioning prior to onset;
  • Acute onset;
  • Older age of onset;
  • A good support system;
  • Shorter period of active symptoms;

Factors Which May Indicate a Poor Prognosis

  • Earlier age of onset;
  • Being a male;
  • A higher number of negative symptoms;
  • A family history of schizophrenia;
  • A low level of functioning prior to onset;
  • Poor or no support system;
  • A history of substance abuse;

Of all schizophrenics, those who fully get back to the way they functioned prior to the onset of the illness make up only around 15%, but as said previously, many do live productive lives even if they do not fully recover1. If you or your loved one has symptoms of schizophrenia or has already been diagnosed, it is very important that treatment recommendations are strictly followed.

writen by Dr. Cheryl Lane, PsyD


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