Schizophrenia Statistics

Schizophrenia is a chronic and very serious psychiatric illness. It has devastating effect on the lives of anyone it touches. It is estimated that nearly 1.2% of the population in the U.S. has schizophrenia 1. The disorder can vary in terms of severity and manageability, but even the mildest and most treatable episodes of this illness leave a mark on lives it touches.

It can be difficult to acquire accurate statistics on schizophrenia due to the nature of the illness. Many people with schizophrenia do not get treatment and end up amongst the struggling homeless population throughout the world. Of the approximately 3.2 million Americans 1 with schizophrenia, the majority aren’t receiving treatment. This in itself is a troubling considering treatment for schizophrenia is a necessity in order to treat the often severe symptoms and ward off relapses of psychotic episodes.

Outcomes 10 years and 30 years after diagnosis

It is interesting to track the outlook for those with schizophrenia and how their future may play out. These statistics further reinforce the need for quick and effective treatment. Following are some statistics based on tracking the outcome for those diagnosed after 10 years and the outcome for those 30 post-diagnosis. Ten years after the initial psychotic break leading to a schizophrenic diagnosis 25% have experienced recovery and 25% are much improved and living independently. Another 25% are improved but still require a constant support system. 15% end up hospitalized and, tragically, 10% are dead after 10 years of living with schizophrenia 2. Most often, death is due to suicide.

The numbers after 30 years of living with schizophrenia are slightly different in both a positive and negative way. 25% of people are in some form of recovery, as are those after 10 years of living with the illness. 35% of people are improved and lead fairly independent lives. 15% are still in need of extensive support 30 years later. Only 10% of treated schizophrenic patients are hospitalized 30 years after a diagnosis. Sadly, the rate of death, particularly death by suicide, increases after 30 years. 15% of those who suffer from this mental illness are dead after 30 years 2.

A long way yet to go

Despite all the research which has already been done, as well as a much better understanding of schizophrenia, including the role of brain chemistry, brain development and genetic and environmental factors, this mental illness still exists and affects countless lives. 1.5 million people worldwide will be diagnosed with schizophrenia this year 1. Doctors are becoming better at understanding and treating the illness. New medications are making the reality of schizophrenia easier to bear and new scientific breakthroughs are helping to diagnose the illness earlier. All of these factors and advances help provide hope for those affected by schizophrenia.

References

  1. Schizophrenia Symptoms, Patterns, and Statistics
  2. Schizophrenia

written by Dr. Cheryl Lane, PsyD

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